Australian government discusses moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 December 2018
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Australian government discusses moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem

  • Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country
  • The Australian newspaper said a decision could be announced this week

SYDNEY: Australia's government met on Tuesday to discuss whether to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, two sources familiar with the matter said, a decision that would break with decades of policy and risk angering Asian neighbours.
"Cabinet met today and the issue of moving the Israeli embassy was discussed. The decision is still pending," said one of the sources who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Prime Minster Scott Morrison in October said he was "open" to moving the embassy to Jerusalem, following the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The United States opened a new embassy in Jerusalem in May, a move that delighted Israel, infuriated Palestinians and upset the wider Arab world and Western allies.
The Australian newspaper reported several senior cabinet members were leaning towards recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital while stopping short of moving the embassy.
Jerusalem's status is a major obstacle to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector that it annexed after a 1967 war, as its capital.
The Australian newspaper said a decision could be announced this week.
By recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Morrison would be hoping to keep his conservative backbench happy but it would likely anger neighbours, including Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority country.
The Palestinian question is sensitive in Indonesia and it has refused to sign a free trade agreement with Australia until it confirms its plans towards Israel.
Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.


Yemeni army recaptures Wadi Al-Tamm and Al-Saif mountains in Saada

Updated 45 min 19 sec ago
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Yemeni army recaptures Wadi Al-Tamm and Al-Saif mountains in Saada

  • Yemeni soldiers recaptured the strategic mountains of Wadi Al-Tamm and Jabal Al-Saif after clashes with the Houthis
  • Another seven militants were killed in a Yemeni army bombing

DUBAI: Yemen’s army reclaimed strategic mountain ranges in the Kitaf district in the northern Saada province from Houthi militants on Sunday night, Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported.

Yemeni soldiers recaptured the strategic mountains of Wadi Al-Tamm and Jabal Al-Saif after clashes with the Houthis, which left six militants dead, according to a military statement issued on Yemen’s official news agency.

Elsewhere in Saada, seven Houthis - including leaders - were killed in a Yemeni army bombing in Ash-Shami front.

“The shelling targeted a Houthi operation room, were a number of leaders were present for a meeting,” a Yemeni military source added.