US Leads The Way, Australia Follows: PM Scott Morrison Open To Move Embassy To Jerusalem

US Leads The Way, Australia Follows: PM Scott Morrison Open To Move Embassy To  JerusalemIsraelis wave their national flags during a march next to the Western Wall as a part of observing the Jerusalem Day (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Australia goes to election in four days and has already made news when Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Canberra was open to recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, reported Reuters.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Morrison had telephoned to explain his shift, said on Twitter he was “very thankful” Morrison was considering the move.

Morrison’s comments about recognising Jerusalem and possibly moving Australia’s embassy there, is reported to have reversed decades of foreign policy and flamed tensions with some of Australia’s Asian neighbours.

The Prime Minister’s openness to recognising Jerusalem and moving Australia’s embassy there comes four days before a by-election in Sydney at which his centre-right coalition runs the risk of losing its tenuous hold on power.

The by-elections will be held in Sydney Wentworth, the seat vacated by Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Morrison’s Liberal party, the senior partner in a Liberal-National coalition, in August. Reports quote census figures showing 12.5 per cent of people in Wentworth as Jewish, a significantly larger proportion than elsewhere in Australia. The Liberal candidate contesting the by-election on Saturday, Dave Sharma, is a former Australian ambassador to Israel who had floated this idea in the past.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital which is a point of contention with Palestine.

The U.S. Embassy became the only foreign embassy in Jerusalem in May, but Netanyahu has attempted to persuade others to follow suit.