The Australian foreign minister said the status of Jerusalem must be resolved “within the framework of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people.”
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed today, Tuesday, that Canberra has retracted its recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved as part of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people,” Wong said in a statement.
Wong held a media briefing shortly after the statement was released, in which she said Australia was committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, and within internationally recognized borders.
She said Australia would not support an approach that undermines that possibility, adding: “The Australian embassy has always been, and still is, in Tel Aviv.”
Wong also said Canberra will always be “a steadfast friend of Israel”, going on to say that it is “the first country to formally recognize Israel”.
She added, “We will not back down from our support for Israel and the Jewish community in Australia. We are equally unwavering in our support for the Palestinian people, including humanitarian support.”
Israel strongly criticizes the decision
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid denounced Australia’s decision to stop recognizing West Jerusalem as his country’s capital.
Lapid considered this step a “hasty response.”
“Jerusalem is the eternal and united capital of Israel and nothing will ever change it,” the prime minister said in a statement released by his office.
“We can only hope that the Australian government will manage other matters more seriously and professionally,” he added. Meanwhile, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had summoned the Australian envoy to lodge a formal protest.
The Palestinian authorities, however, welcomed the move.
“We welcome Australia’s decision regarding Jerusalem and its call for a two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy,” wrote Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh on Twitter.
He praised “Australia’s assertion that the future of sovereignty over Jerusalem depends on a permanent solution based on international legitimacy.”