Prime Minister Yair Lapid was caught off-guard by Canberra’s decision to reverse the stance adopted by former Liberal Party prime minister Scott Morrison, says Israeli official.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday described as a “wretched move” the Australian government’s decision to walk back the country’s recognition of western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
Lapid reportedly made the comment during a meeting with the Australian ambassador to Israel, who had been summoned to the Foreign Ministry for a diplomatic dressing-down.
The summons was in response to the Labor Party-led Australian government’s decision earlier Tuesday to officially revoke the recognition of Jerusalem by former Liberal Party prime minister Scott Morrison.
The Australian Cabinet instead agreed that Jerusalem’s eventual status must be resolved via peace negotiations with the Palestinians that lead to a two-state solution.
“We will not support an approach that undermines this prospect,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong was quoted by the Associated Press as saying on Tuesday.
An Israeli official told online news site Walla! that Lapid had been caught off guard by the Australian move, which followed a Guardian report on Monday that the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had dropped from its website the following two lines of text about the country’s recognition of western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: “Consistent with this longstanding policy, in December 2018, Australia recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of the Israeli government.’’
“Australia looks forward to moving its embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after the final status determination of, a two-state solution.”
The lines were deleted after the Guardian Australia asked the current government questions about the matter.
The Labor Party, with Anthony Albanese as prime minister and Wong as the top diplomat, rose to power in May 2022.
Lapid in a statement said that, “Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of Israel and nothing will change that.
“In light of the way in which this decision was made in Australia, as a hasty response to an incorrect report in the media, we can only hope that the Australian government manages other matters more seriously and professionally,” he added.