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Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

SYDNEY: Australia formally recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of Middle East policy, but will not move its embassy there immediately, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday.

“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.

“We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Morrison said in October he was open to shifting Australia’s embassy from Tel Aviv. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May was criticised by the  wider Arab world and even his Western allies.

Morrison’s unexpected announcement in October was viewed cynically because it came days before a crucial by-election in an electorate with a strong Jewish representation, a poll his party subsequently lost.

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