Australia’s ex-PM warns Jerusalem move would worry Indonesia

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during the fifth Our Ocean Conference in Nusadua, Indonesia's resort island of Bali, on October 29, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 October 2018

Australia’s ex-PM warns Jerusalem move would worry Indonesia

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday no decision had been made yet on the embassy’s location
  • Turnbull also said Australia should stick with a policy of more than 40 years that its embassy should be in Tel Aviv

CANBERRA, Australia: A former Australian prime minister has warned the government to expect a negative reaction from Indonesia if Australia follows the United States by shifting its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke to reporters after meeting Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on the tourist island of Bali on Monday to discuss a bilateral free trade deal.
“The president expressed to me ... the very serious concern held in Indonesia about the prospect of the Australian Embassy in Israel being moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview aired on Tuesday. “There’s no question that were that move to occur, it would be met with a very negative reaction in Indonesia.”
“This is after all the largest ... majority-Muslim country in the world, so we have to be very clear-eyed about that and we have to take into account Australia’s national interest and our interests in the region when we ... consider decisions like this,” he added.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday no decision had been made yet on the embassy’s location.
Morrison sent his predecessor to represent Australia at a climate change conference in Bali because of Turnbull’s close personal rapport with the Indonesian leader, who had been disappointed that Turnbull’s government colleagues replaced him in August in response to poor opinion polling.
Turnbull said he was confident that the free trade deal between Australia, a nation of 25 million people, and Indonesia, a near-neighbor with a population of more than 260 million people, would be signed within weeks.
Turnbull also said Australia should stick with a policy of more than 40 years that its embassy should be in Tel Aviv.
Morrison, a long-time ally of Turnbull who had argued against replacing him in a leadership ballot of government lawmakers, floated the idea of shifting the embassy days before a by-election in a Sydney electorate with a large Jewish population.
The government lost the by-election, forced by Turnbull’s resignation from Parliament, and its single-seat majority in the House of Representatives.
“Australia will always make our decisions on our foreign policy based on our interests and we’ll do that as a sovereign nation,” Morrison told reporters.
We’ll consult, we’ll listen to others, but at the end of the day ... I will always put our interests first,” he added.
The Trump administration turned its back on decades of US policy last December by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and in May, it moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv. The decision angered the Muslim world and was a setback for Palestinian aspirations for statehood. Palestinians see east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of a future independent state.
Morrison said Australia remained committed to finding a two-state solution.
When Morrison became prime minister, he made his first overseas trip to Indonesia, an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause, in a sign of the importance Australia places on the bilateral relationship.

Man arrested for London mosque shooting

Updated 23 May 2019

Man arrested for London mosque shooting

  • The suspect was charged with possession of firearms with intent to cause harm or fear
  • Police say the suspect may have had a fight earlier in a nearby street

DUBAI: A man has been arrested after he fired a gun in a London mosque, UK daily The Metro reported.

The man entered the Seven Kings Mosque in London, on Thursday, May 9, while worshippers performed Ramadan prayers and fired a gun, the report added.

He was arrested on charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
There were no reports of injuries or damages to the building, ballistic evidence suggests the detainee may have used a blank-firing handgun, police said.

Police investigations said it is possible the incident started after an earlier argument in a nearby street.

A mosque attendee, Ibraheem Hussain, said he heard the gunshot almost half an hour after prayers began, adding that he was concerned for the safety of worshippers.

“(Christchurch) comes to mind, it’s crazy to think this would happen in London, especially after everything that has happened,” he told Metro.