Australia May Move Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Scott Morrison open to moving Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Indonesia's relationship with Australia could be "thrown under a bus" following Canberra's provocative move to consider relocating its embassy in Israel, a trade expert is warning.

Officials said the decision to move the Australian embassy has been under consideration for months.

Morrison also said Australia would review its support for the Iran nuclear deal, under which sanctions were lifted in return for restraints on its nuclear programme "to determine whether our current policy settings remain fit for purpose".

"Scott Morrison is now so desperate to hang on to his job, he is prepared to say anything if he thinks it will win him a few more votes - even at the cost of Australia's national interest", said the opposition Labour party foreign policy spokeswoman Penny Wong.

Morrison and Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo planned to sign an agreement this year aimed at boosting trade and investment.

He said there had been no discussion on the matter with the U.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper described Mr Morrison's apparent change of heart as "unprincipled and craven". He denied that his comments on Tuesday were aimed at Wentworth's large Jewish community.

The surprise announcement came just days before a crucial parliamentary by-election in a Sydney district that has a significant Jewish electorate and where the candidate for Morrison's Liberal party, a former ambassador to Israel, is trailing in opinion polls. The orthodoxy that's driven this debate which says issues like considering the question of the capital are taboo.

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He said no decision had been made and he was simply being open to the suggestion.

The Prime Minister denied the looming by-election in Wentworth, which has a large Jewish community, had any impact on his decision on Australia's shift in approach to Middle East policy, or that his evangelical religious beliefs - a key factor in the shift in United States policy in the region - played any role.

"It's a big change, it is out of step with everyone, except America", said Tiffen.

The Wentworth vote is scheduled for Saturday.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Australia refused to follow its closest ally's example and has so far kept its mission in Tel Aviv. The apparent change of policy was welcomed by Israel but swiftly criticised by Palestinian representatives.

Arguing that a two-state solution has failed to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his government is contemplating moving the Australian embassy to the Holy City, to somehow rejuvenate the negotiation process.

While the Palestinians insist on drawing the demarcation lines along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem serving as the capital of the future Palestinian state, Israel claims historic rights to the entire city.

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