Australia PM flip flops on Jerusalem embassy, calls conversation premature

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that “when I’m in a position to make that announcement, I will.”

By SAM SOKOL/JTA
December 12, 2018 18:34
1 minute read.
A Hebrew and English sign is seen at the entrance to the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel

A Hebrew and English sign is seen at the entrance to the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 16, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

 
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Australia’s prime minister appeared to quash reports that he would announce his government’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.

Asked what decision the Cabinet had been reached regarding the the matter during a news conference in Adelaide, Scott Morrison replied that it was premature to discuss the issue, telling reporters that “when I’m in a position to make that announcement, I will.”

Morrison’s rebuttal of the rumors comes only one day after the publication of a report by The Australian, citing government sources, claiming that his Cabinet had approved recognition and was planning to announce the change in policy on Wednesday. According to the report, which received considerable play in the Israeli media, recognition would not have been immediately followed by an embassy move due to cost issues.


While Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had said in June that “the Australian government will not be moving our embassy to Jerusalem,” Morrison said in October that he was “open-minded” regarding following the American example. The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May. However, Australia subsequently received harsh pushback from the Palestinians and a number of Muslim states including Indonesia, an important trading partner.

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