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After J’lem Reversal, Israel Said to Fear Australia May Recognize Palestinian State

Times of Israel, October 19th 2022


Recap:

Australia will no longer recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and revert to recognizing Tel Aviv instead.


The Context:

· Jerusalem was to become an international zone under a United Nations plan to partition Palestine in 1947. Following Palestinian rejection of the deal, Israel took control of Western Jerusalem while Jordan took control of the East. During the 1967 war, Israel captured East Jerusalem and annexed it [1]. Today, the city is roughly divided between Jewish neighborhoods in the west and Arab sections in the east.

· Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. For decades the international community held that the city’s status should be negotiated between the two parties. Most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv, over an hour drive from Israel’s parliament and prime minister’s office.

· In 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Australia, along with Honduras, Guatemala, and Kosovo, followed suit [2], however Australia only recognized West Jerusalem [3]. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a self-declared critic of Israel [4], entered office in May and reversed his predecessor’s decision arguing it was “out of step” with the international community.

· Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the move “a miserable decision that ignores the deep and eternal connection between Israel and its historic capital [5]” while the Palestinian Authority praisedthe policy shift [6]. Israel fears Australia is moving closer towards recognizing Palestinian statehood. Last month, Ireland signaled it might unilaterally do so if it feels progress toward a two-state solution has stalled.


Conversation Points

· Does not declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital reward Palestinian intransigence on negotiations?

· Can Palestinians point to the 1947 partition plan as their basis for negotiations if they rejected it?

· What might happen if Australia unilaterally recognizes a Palestinian state?


Notes:

1. Australia Reverses Recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Myra Noveck and Yan Zhuang, New York Times, October 18th, 2022

2. Australia reverses decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, BBC, October 18th, 2022

3. Australia pulls recognition of Jerusalem as capital, angering Israel, Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, October 18th, 2022

4. Israel slams Australia for revoking Jerusalem capital recognition, envoy summoned, LAHAV HARKOV, Jerusalem Post, OCTOBER 17th, 2022

5. Ibid.

6. Australia reverses recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Al Jazeera, October 18th, 2022


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