Australia Latest To Consider Moving Embassy To Jerusalem

Australia is the latest country to announce it is considering following the United States in moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that he would consult with his cabinet and other countries before officially the embassy, according to the BBC.

The United Nations voted 128-9 to condemn the initial move by the United States in December 2017 and critics condemned it as a threat to the peace process.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it “would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.”  The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini claimed that the move “has a very worrying potential impact.”  While Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Trump was, “throwing the region into a ring of fire” according to the BBC.

May saw the the grand ceremony that commemorated the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

While some nations insisted they would not follow Trump’s lead, others followed.  Guatemala followed suit, Paraguay planned to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but reversed course, according to the BBC. Czech President Miloš Zeman announced in late April that he was beginning a three-staged process with the ultimate goal of moving his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, according to the Times of Israel. The Honduran National Congress endorsed the idea of moving the Honduran Embassy to Jerusalem in May, according to the Times of Israel. Just last Friday Romania was in the midst of a process considering moving their embassy to Jerusalem as well, the Jerusalem Post reported.

When asked about the potential move the prime minister said he was “open minded” while maintaining he was still committed to a two-state solution. “But frankly, it hasn’t been going that well. Not a lot of progress has been made. And you don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results” he added.

Critics accused Morrison of ginning up controversy in order to win Jewish voters.  He is the third Liberal Party prime minister since the Liberal Party came to power in September 2013.  He credits the idea to former Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, who is running in a special election in a seat held by Morrison’s predecessor Malcolm Turnbull.  If Sharma loses, Morrison’s coalition of Liberal and National parties would collapse as it has only a one-seat majority in the Australia’s House of Representatives, The New York Times reported.

Morrison, a evangelical Christian, denied that his faith, domestic politics, or trying to curry favor with the United States influenced his decision in any way, according to Bloomberg.

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