US expected to open embassy in Jerusalem in May

An Israeli flag is seen near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City. The opening of the US Embassy in the city in May will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. (Reuters)
Updated 23 February 2018
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US expected to open embassy in Jerusalem in May

WASHINGTON: The United States is expected to open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, a US official told Reuters on Friday, a move from Tel Aviv that reverses decades of US policy.
US President Donald Trump announced last year that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriating even Washington’s Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.
A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. While speaking in the Israeli parliament last month, US Vice President Mike Pence said the move would take place by the end of 2019.
The opening will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, said the US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Updated 15 December 2018
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Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as capital of Israel

  • The prime minister is also committed to recognizing a future state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal
  • The embassy will be moved to west Jerusalem, and defense and trade offices will also be established

SYDNEY: Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Saturday, but a contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved.
Morrison is also committed to recognizing a future state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal.
“Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem — being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government — is the capital of Israel,” Morrison said in a speech in Sydney on Saturday.
“And we look forward to moving our embassy to west Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after final status of determination,” he said, adding that work on a new site for the embassy was under way.
In the interim, Morrison said, Australia would establish a defense and trade office in the west of the holy city.
“Furthermore, recognizing our commitment to a two-state solution, the Australian government is also resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in east Jerusalem,” he added.
Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.
Most foreign nations have avoided moving embassies there to prevent inflaming peace talks on the city’s final status — until US President Trump unilaterally moved the US embassy there earlier this year.
Morrison first floated a shift in foreign policy in October, which angered Australia’s immediate neighbor Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
The issue has put a halt on years-long negotiations on a bilateral trade deal.
Canberra on Friday told its citizens traveling to Indonesia to “exercise a high degree of caution,” warning of protests in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and popular holiday hotspots, including Bali.
Morrison said it was in Australia’s interests to support “liberal democracy” in the Middle East, and took aim at the United Nations he said was a place Israel is “bullied.”