Split reaction to Australian recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Arab states condemn Scott Morrison’s announcement but Israel welcomes ‘step in the right direction’

The Australian government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capitalhas attracted mixed international reaction.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, confirmed the decision in a speech in Sydney on Saturday following months of speculation.

The idea was first floated during the Wentworth byelection and drew criticism from political rivals as a cynical ploy to buy votes in the largely Jewish electorate.

It also attracted rebukes from south-east Asian trading partners, who feared the decision to wade into the multigenerational political quagmire could fuel unrest.

Malaysia came out strongly against the move, calling the decision “premature” and a “humiliation to the Palestinians”.

Israel’s foreign ministry commended the move as a step in the right direction, while the Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat said it was born of Australian “petty domestic politics”.

“Israel views the decision of the Australian government to open its trade and defence office in Jerusalem as a step in the right direction,” a foreign ministry statement said.

“Israel congratulates the government of Australia for its stance regarding sanctions on Iran and also regarding its pro-Israel position at the UN and against antisemitism.”

Read the article in The Guardian.