Australia opens Trade and Defense Office in Jerusalem

The Australian government formally recognized west Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December.

The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY/FILE PHOTO)
The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY/FILE PHOTO)
Australia opened a new Trade and Defense Office in Jerusalem on Friday.
The Australian government formally recognized west Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2018, committing to open an office in the city within the coming months.
Mark Leibler, national chairman of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), welcomed the move.
“AIJAC is very pleased to acknowledge that the government has fulfilled their promise to open this office so quickly. Building on the Australian government’s welcome and principled recognition of the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and has been since 1949, this office should both give that recognition concrete form and help further develop the already extensive and mutually beneficial trade ties between Israeli and Australia,” he said.
The office is located on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem.
In December, Israel tepidly welcomed, and the Palestinians and Arab League vehemently condemned, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement that Canberra now recognized west Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Morrison, in a speech at the Sydney Institute at the time, said, “Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel. We look forward to moving our embassy to west Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination.”
He said that Australia will open a trade and defense office in Jerusalem, and begin looking looking for a possible embassy site.
The Australian prime minister reaffirmed Australia's support for a two -state solution with the capital of a future Palestinian state being in east Jerusalem.
"A two-state solution remains the only viable way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute," he said. "The obstacles, we must admit, to achieving such a solution are becoming insurmountable."