Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid harshly criticized Australia on Tuesday for reversing a right-wing government’s decision to no longer recognize west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
We can only hope that the Australian government handles other problems more carefully and professionally, Lapid said, calling the action a “hasty response.”
In a statement issued by his office, the prime minister stated, “Nothing will ever change that Jerusalem is the eternal and unified capital of Israel.
According to the Israeli foreign ministry, the Australian ambassador had been called to make a formal complaint.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong, who announced the shift in policy by Australia’s center-left government, said the city’s status should be established via negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians rather than through executive orders.
The Australian embassy has always been, and will always be, in Tel Aviv, she continued, adding that “we will not accept a strategy that undermines” a two-state solution.
A conservative Australian government under Scott Morrison adopted Donald Trump’s policy of designating west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018.
The action sparked a political reaction in Australia and strained relations with neighboring Indonesia, the world’s most populous country with a Muslim majority, briefly delaying the implementation of a free trade agreement.
Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Thus most international governments refrain from publicly designating it as such.