Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa (AP/Nariman El-Mofty) (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

“Australia’s position does not hamper the legitimate demands of the Palestinians and first and foremost East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. It also does not contradict the Arab Peace Initiative,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister said.

By: United with Israel Staff

Bahrain surprisingly lent support to Australia’ recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite a condemnation of the move by the Arab League and the Palestinians, the Times of Israel reported.

The Arab League “strongly” condemned Australia’s decision as “biased” and “contrary to international law,” while claiming that the decision would only “encourage the occupation to continue its aggression, arrogance, settlement and defiance of international resolutions” and threatening that the move could have serious ramifications for Arab-Australian relations.

However, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa dismissed the statement, saying that the Arab League’s statement was “irresponsible.”

“Australia’s position does not hamper the legitimate demands of the Palestinians and first and foremost East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. It also does not contradict the Arab Peace Initiative,” he explained in a tweet.

Australia has decided to formally recognize west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but won’t move its embassy until there’s a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Saturday.

Morrison said in a speech that Australia would recognize east Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital only after a settlement has been reached on a two-state solution. The Australian Embassy won’t be moved from Tel Aviv until such a time, he said.

While the embassy move is delayed, Morrison said his government would establish a defense and trade office in Jerusalem and would also start looking for an appropriate site for the embassy.

“The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel,” Morrison said.

Israel-Bahrain Relations

The Israelis welcome recognition of Jerusalem as their capital, and Israel’s foreign ministry commended Australia’s move as “a step in the right direction.” In a statement, it also praised the Australian government’s stance against anti-Semitism and its pro-Israel position at the UN.

Bahrain has recently lent support to Israel when it voiced support for the IDF’s operation to expose and destroy Hezbollah’s cross-border tunnels.

“Is terrorist Hezbollah’s digging of the tunnels under Lebanon’s border not a flagrant threat to Lebanon’s stability, which it shares responsibility for?” Al Khalifa wrote on his Twitter account earlier this month.

“Who bears responsibility when neighboring countries take upon themselves to eliminate the threat they face?”

Earlier this year, Bahrain officially supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian aggression in Syria.

In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit Bahrain “soon,” his office said this month.

AP contributed to this report.

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