Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, speaks to the media alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne during a press conference at the Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Morrison said Tuesday that he was open to shifting the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in line with President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the contested holy city as Israel's capital. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

Morrison said he was “open to” following the US in its embassy move to Jerusalem, describing it as a “sensible” proposal.

By: United with Israel Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke by telephone with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu thanked him for his remarks.

Morrison, Australia’s new prime minister, said on Tuesday he was “open to” following the US in its embassy move to Jerusalem, describing it as a “sensible” proposal.

“When sensible suggestions are put forward that are consistent with your policy positioning and in this case pursuing a two-state solution, Australia should be open-minded to this and I am open-minded to this and our government is open-minded to this,” Morrison told reporters.

Morrison, an evangelical Christian, stated that his “faith and religion has nothing to do with this decision.”

He explained that the status quo in Israeli-Palestinian relations had failed to make headway. “The orthodoxy that’s driven this debate which says issues like considering the question of the capital are taboo. I think we have to challenge that,” he said.

“We’re committed to a two-state solution, but frankly, it hasn’t been going that well,” he said. “Not a lot of progress has been made. And you don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.”

David Sharma, the former Australian ambassador to Israel suggested the move to Morrison, saying it was “an important announcement” and that “it is always important to reassess foreign policy settings, particularly when circumstances change.”

Morrison also announced that Australia would vote against a United Nations resolution this week to recognize the Palestinian Authority as the chair of the Group of 77 developing countries and would review the three-year-old Iran nuclear deal.

A Wave of Embassy Moves

Australia is the latest country to move towards this crucial and historic step.

In July, Slovakia announced it was on its way to relocating its embassy to Jerusalem

In April, Czech President Milos Zeman said his country would open a consulate and cultural center in Jerusalem. Zeman reiterated his intention to eventually transfer the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital.

In May, the Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, after it had been shuttered since 2016 following the death of the previous honorary consul.

The United States and Guatemala have relocated their embassies to Israel’s capital.

The US in May became the first country to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, following President Donald Trump’s December 2017 recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

AP contributed to this report.

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