RAMALLAH, Saturday, December 15, 2018 (WAFA) - In his announcement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentioned that the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was made in light of alleged Australian support for the two-state solution. However, the policies of this Australian administration have done nothing to advance the two-state solution, charged Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
In fact, added Erekat in a statement on Saturday on Australia‘s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel‘s capital, Australia has chosen to join US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and two other governments in voting against the two-state solution in a United Nations resolution supported by 156 nations.
Additionally, he said, the Australian government is refusing to recognize Palestine as a state, voting in international forums against the Palestinian right to self-determination, and continuing to trade with Israeli settlements.
“From the beginning, we‘ve perceived the Australian government’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as one wherein petty domestic politics steer irresponsible policies that contradict world peace and security. In fact, the reference to West Jerusalem in their announcement reflects Australia‘s inability to go ahead as was previously announced,” said Erekat in the statement.
While Morrison said he recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that his government will recognize East Jerusalem as capital of the future Palestinian state once the two-station solution is achieved, he will not move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until after a final settlement is reached between the Palestinians and Israel. But meanwhile, a defense and trade office will be opened in Jerusalem.
“All of Jerusalem remains a final status issue for negotiations, while East Jerusalem, under international law, is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory,” said Erekat. “Australia‘s announcement to open a trade office in the city negates its very claim that it abides by UN Security Council Resolution 478, which refers to Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem as null and void and calls upon countries to withdraw diplomatic missions from the city.”
Erekat thanked “the thousands of concerned Australian citizens, as well as our friends worldwide, that called upon the Australian government to respect international law and the rights of the Palestinian people.”