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Australia recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel despite PLO warning

Dec. 15, 2018 1:56 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 15, 2019 12:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, officially recognized "West Jerusalem" as the capital of Israel, on Saturday, stressing that Australia is going to recognize East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine once a peace settlement between the Palestinians and Israel is reached.

Morrison said that Australia will not move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, even if it has recognized the city as the capital of Israel, until a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and Israel.

"The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem ... is the capital of Israel, and we look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination."

Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee,Hanan Ashrawi, had expressed the Palestinian leadership's "grave concern" of a possible shift in Australia's foreign policy and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a letter to Morrison, on Friday.

Ashrawi called upon Morrison to ensure Australia's strict adherence to its obligations under the international law and advised against any violation of or deviation from relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

She added that violating the legal status of Jerusalem "would be unilateral, illegal, and would jeopardize the chances for peace." She had warned that such a step would be a provocation that threatens to further destabilize the region, stressing at the same time that a potential change in Australia's foreign policy position would constitute a departure from the global rule of law and undermine its standing and economic interests worldwide.

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