Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night issued a short press release saying he had spoken by telephone with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and the latter said that he was considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian Embassy there – for which Netanyahu thanked him.
Morrison said on Tuesday that he was “open-minded” about moving the embassy, stressing that this did not mean he was giving up on a two-state solution, which, “frankly, it hasn’t been going that well.” Morrison pointed out that “not a lot of progress has been made. And you don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.”
Thank you, Mr. Albert Einstein, people are finally paying attention.
According to Morrison, it was former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, currently the Liberal Party candidate for a seat once held by former Prime Minister Malcolm, who convinced Morrison he should consider the idea of moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem.
The NY Times quoted Sarah Lavan, a kindergarten teacher, who was shopping at a kosher bakery in Rose Bay, who said “We’re happy and proud of him (Morrison). I think it’s a brave step. My husband was so happy this morning — all his life he’s voted Liberal.”
She also said, “I don’t think the step is to win more Jewish votes. [Besides,] it doesn’t matter what the reason is, the action is what counts.”
Opposition shadow foreign minister Penny Wong asked: “Does anyone actually believe he’ll carry this through? He’s just posturing ahead of a by-election that he is desperate to win in order to hold onto a slim majority.”
Should it make the move, Australia would be joining the US, Paraguay, Honduras and Guatemala – although the new president of Paraguay has already opted to move his country’s embassy back to Tel Aviv.