Australia hesitates as Jerusalem embassy move draws fire

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Morrison called a press conference to say he was "open-minded" to proposals to formally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move his nation's embassy to the holy city, a sharp break with the policy of successive Australian governments for decades.

Anwar said, Australia should not condone any act that supports injustice and has urged all ASEAN countries to oppose any such move.

Mr Morrison's predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, had ruled out following the USA in moving Australia's embassy to Jerusalem.

"Australia is part of Asia and they take lots of pride to become the neighbours of ASEAN in Asia. I'm very thankful to him for this", Netanyahu tweeted.

Australia is considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shifting its embassy there, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday, receiving backlash from the worldwide community.

Morrison "informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem". Israel closed its embassy in Asuncion in response.

Australia's ambassador in Jakarta has sought an urgent meeting with officials from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to explain.

Australia is not a party to the deal but Israeli ambassador Mark Sofer said Australia's voice carried serious weight in the world and its public views had influence. He said no decision had been made and he was simply being open to the suggestion. "I think we have to challenge that", he said.

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While the possibility of relocating the Australian embassy to Jerusalem was welcomed by Netanyahu, Morrison's critics blamed the PM of catering to the Jewish electorate of Wentworth, where former Ambassador Sharma is trailing behind in the opinion polls ahead of the crucial parliamentary by-election scheduled this week. It's a bit cute to say its consistent with a two-state solution.

Worldwide consensus has been that Jerusalem's status should be settled in a peace deal and recognising it as a capital for either side would prejudice one party over the other.

Mr. Morrison said Australia remained committed to finding a two-state solution to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.

The anticipated announcement comes as Australia's former envoy to Israel David Sharma, plans to run as a Liberal candidate for a key parliamentary seat in the Wentworth district of New South Wales; a heavily Jewish area that was left vacant after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull resigned last month.

But even if Australia ends up doing nothing on Jerusalem, the joint statement released Tuesday contains other good news for Israel.

Canberra will also vote against recognizing the Palestinian Authority as the chair of the G77 group of developing nations at the UN, and would review its support for the Iran nuclear deal.

"The review will reassess whether the Plan remains the best vehicle to address the global community's concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions", the joint statement said.