Jerusalem, the holy site of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has always been in controversy. Now again a decision of Australia regarding Jerusalem remains a matter of discussion in the world. In fact, after America, Australia recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the year 2018.
After the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv, the government of former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also took this step following the footsteps of America. Australia has quietly rescinded a decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ignoring former Prime Minister Morrison. Australia’s Labor government has removed two sentences (Dfat) from the website recognizing West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Jerusalem at a Glance
Jerusalem is a place that has always been in controversies even after being extremely Pak. The reason for this is also the Israelis and Palestinians who consider it Pak. This city is very special for 3 religions Islam, Judaism and Christians who consider Prophet Abraham as their own Messiah. Counted among the oldest cities of the world, this city was built and destroyed many times, but its history has never been separated from it.
Because of this city, there was a conflict between the people of these religions, so this has also connected them. In the middle of this city is an old Jijo Old City. There are four areas of Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Armenian people. There is a fort-like wall enclosing this city. There are culinary places close to this wall.
holy places are here
The oldest area here belongs to Armenians. St. James’s Church and Monastery here boasts the community’s heritage. So in the Christian area is The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is at this place that Jesus Christ was crucified on the Hill of the Calvary and it was here that he resurrected. The Dome of the Rock and Masjid Al Aqs are in the Muslim area.
Haram al-Sharif, the holy place of Muslims, is here. Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed had arrived here from Mecca in one night and traveled to Paradise from this place. The remaining part of the Wall of the Mount in the Jewish area is the Kotel, the Western Wall. It is believed that the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place of the Jews, is also here. Jews believe that the world was made from this place. It was here that Prophet Ibrahim made preparations for the sacrifice of his son Ishaq.
Why is there controversy over this city?
This oldest city, Jerusalem, is the real reason for the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Not only from the religious point of view, but also politically, this city has a lot of importance. Israel was created in the year 1948. Then the Parliament of this country was given a place in the western part of this city. The people of this country consider Jerusalem as their capital. In the year 1967, there was a war between Israel and Arab countries.
In this war, Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem also brought this old city under its JD and Israel also took this area under its control. However, the international community has not yet recognized this occupation of Israel. In fact, Palestinian tribes have been living here for centuries and one-third of the population of this city also belongs to these people. On the other hand, since the occupation of East Jerusalem, Jewish settlements have been increasing. They are illegal under international law, but Israel has always denied it.
Aman’s proposal only works
For decades, the international community has believed that a peace proposal is the only effective way to change the situation in the three-religious holy city of Jerusalem. For this reason, all the countries of the world that have embassies in Israel are all in Tel Aviv. These countries have only commercial consulates in Jerusalem. Former US President Donald Trump did not agree with the two-nation solution. For this reason he not only recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but also brought his embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
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In the year 2017, US President Donald Trump disregarded international rules in West Jerusalem. was recognized as the capital of Israel. He became the first global leader to do so. Not only this, America had made its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In fact, a large part of America is in favor of Israel’s rights over Jerusalem.
This was the reason that Trump, who was then President, took a decision under the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995 and transferred him to Jerusalem. This law testifies to the presence of the Israeli embassy of America in Jerusalem. Then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said that apart from America, other countries of the world also think of moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the Liberal Party of Australia recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2018. However, the Embassy of Australia remained in Tel Aviv. Now the Labor government of Australia has canceled this decision of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The decision was officially announced by Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Tuesday 18 October. Australia has derecognised West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In fact, Israel considers the whole and united Jerusalem as its capital. While Palestinian officials are of the view that East Jerusalem should be the capital of the future Palestine country.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of this country has maintained the bilateral status. Australia is “committed to a two-state solution, in which Israel and the future Palestinian state co-exist in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.”
Why did Australia reverse the decision?
Australia said it was committed to a two-state solution to the Jerusalem issue. The solution also recognizes the co-existence of two countries within internationally recognized borders with peace and security. If one country is Israel, the other country is the future Palestinian country.
On this, Australia’s Foreign Ministry clearly said that it will not support an approach that reduces the possibility of a two-state solution. The Foreign Ministry also guaranteed its support to both Israel and Palestine. “We were one of the first countries to formally recognize Israel under Prime Minister Ben Chifley of the Labor Party,” the ministry said.
This government will not back down in support of Israel and the Jewish community in Australia. We are equally unwavering supporters of the Palestinian people. Every year since 1951, we have been giving them humanitarian aid and advocating for the resumption of peace talks.” Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid criticized Australia’s move.
“We can only hope that the Australian government takes other matters more seriously and professionally,” Prime Minister Lapid said. The Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, praised Australia’s move. He said that this confirms that the resolution of the situation in Jerusalem depends on the last round of talks.
What is the two-nation solution?
The internationally accepted solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is called the two-state solution. Under this, the co-existence of the independent Palestine nation along with Israel has been accepted. The idea behind this is to create an independent Palestinian nation with Israel on the pre-1967 borders. The United Nations has also included its proposals for a two-state solution in this matter.
In fact, the international community has never accepted Israel’s absolute sovereignty over Jerusalem. Israelis express their displeasure over this. On the other hand, Palestinians stake their claim on East Jerusalem. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be their capital. It is also the only way to establish peace in the long-running Israel-Palestinian dispute.
Australian policy change
In May 2022 this year, Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party was elected Prime Minister of Australia. His election was a wave of change in this country after a long time. In fact, the Labor Party had defeated the Conservative Party-led coalition, which had been in power in this country for almost a decade. When Australia recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2018.
The then PM Morrison had said that the embassy would be moved to Jerusalem whenever practicable after taking a final firm decision from Tel Aviv. He also announced the opening of a defense and trade office in West Jerusalem for some time. Morrison then also said that his government was committed to a two-state solution. Then he also said that he also respected the wishes of the Palestinian people to make East Jerusalem the capital of the future. Significantly, both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital.
How is Indonesia involved?
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation and a close neighbor of Australia. Former Australian PM Morrison’s announcement in October 2018 to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital angered Indonesia.
Due to this there was tension between the two countries and there was a protest in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Australia then warned its citizens to exercise extreme caution in famous holiday hotspots including the capital Jakarta and Bali. Now Indonesia has welcomed the move to derecognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
West Jerusalem and the issue of the capital
Instead of Jerusalem, embassies of most countries are still in Tel Aviv. Significantly, before the year 1980, embassies of most countries were in Jerusalem. This process of moving embassies from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv started after the UN Security Council resolution. United Nations Security Council resolution 478 urged countries to move their diplomatic missions out of Jerusalem.
10 countries of the world Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Netherlands, Panama and Uruguay accepted this request and removed their embassies from Jerusalem. Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela had already withdrawn their missions from here before this proposal.
In 2006, Costa Rica and El Salvador were the last countries to move their embassies out of Jerusalem.In December 2017, Trump announced the recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced that the embassy would be moved to Jerusalem. This was followed by the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem in May 2018.
This move was not entirely new to America. In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This act legally obliged the US embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, a part of it allows the President to stop this step for 6 months keeping in mind the national security interests. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama followed the same section every six months during their tenures as US Presidents.
Which countries have embassies here?
Guatemala opened its embassy here just two days after the US opened its embassy in Israel. After this Paraguay had also said that it would move its embassy to Jerusalem, but within only three months this decision of this country was averted by the formation of a new government there.
Last year, in June 2021, Honduras inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem. However, only a year later, the country’s foreign ministry said it was considering moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv. In March 2021, Kosovo opened an embassy in Jerusalem. Suriname has announced in May 2022 that it is also going to open an embassy here. However, Suriname has not fixed any date regarding this yet.
In September 2022, British media outlets said that Liz Truss, who had resigned as prime minister a few days earlier, was also considering moving the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Truss also spoke about this with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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