Photo Credit: Flash 90
Then-Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs and Security Coordinator Hussein al-Sheikh, 2019

An overjoyed Palestinian Authority hailed the Australian government on Tuesday following the news that Canberra had reversed its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Australian Foreign Minister Revokes Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital


“We welcome Australia’s decision with regards to Jerusalem & its call for a two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy,” PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh wrote in a tweet.

Al-Sheikh, who serves as secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, added that the PA also welcomed Australia’s affirmation that “the future of sovereignty over Jerusalem depends on the permanent solution based on international legitimacy.”

The Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization likewise praised Australia for its decision, calling it a “courageous step and a victory for the Palestinian cause and narrative.”

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization also welcomed the decision as a “step in the right direction.”

In making the announcement of her government’s decision earlier in the day, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement, “We will not support an approach that undermines” a two-state solution. . . “Australia’s embassy has always been, and remains in Tel Aviv.”

Australia’s previous government under then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison recognized “West Jerusalem” in 2018 as the Israeli capital city.

‘Surprising Decision Contrary to Good Israel-Australia Relations’
The political director of Israel’s foreign ministry, Aliza Bin Nun, was blunt in expressing Israel’s “deep disappointment” in response to the announcement.

Speaking with Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, Paul Griffiths, Bin Nun called the move a “surprising decision that ignores the deep and eternal connection between Israel and its historical capital and which is contrary to the good relations between Israel and Australia.

Bin Nun also warned the move “only encourages extremists in the Palestinian Authority to continue to incite the territory [to violence against Israelis], endangers stability and is contrary to the spirit of the recent period in which significant progress was made in relations between Israel and other countries in the Middle East [the Abraham Accords].

Bin Nun also added that the decision came at an unfortunate time, at a time when the Jewish people all over the world are celebrating the Sukkot holiday and the special connection to Jerusalem, and said Israel will now weigh its next steps, the foreign ministry told reporters.

‘Israel Should Move Embassy to Bondi Beach’
International Legal Forum CEO Arsen Ostrovsky, an Israeli from Australia, called it a “cowardly and shameful reversal” in a series of interviews with Israeli media.

Ostrovsky also noted in a series of sarcastic tweets, “For the record, Canberra was only made the capital of Australia in 1913, when it literally had to be built from scratch.

“Whereas Jerusalem has been capital of the Jewish people for 3,000+ years, since days of King David. It was, is & shall remain Israel’s indivisible capital.

“And in case it needed clarifying, the Jewish people here also happen to be the indigenous ones to the Land of Israel…Israel should move its Embassy from Canberra to Bondi Beach, pending a resolution between Australia and the indigenous people upon whose land they settled,” Ostrovsky advised.

‘Gratuitous Insult to Key Economic and Strategic Ally’
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry also issued a lengthy statement slamming the move as a fait accompli presented to stakeholders, rather than a decision taken after public debate.

The ECA called the decision a “gratuitous insult to a key economic and strategic ally with no countervailing benefit for Australians. This is no way to treat an ally whose intelligence-sharing with Australia has prevented at least one terrorist attack against Australians that we know of.”

The organization added that the decision “will also serve as a disincentive for the Palestinians to return to negotiations,” pointing out “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, the site of its Parliament, Supreme Court, Ministerial offices and President’s residence. West Jerusalem has been part of Israel’s territory since the State was established in 1948.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.