ECAJ welcomes the Government recognition of West Jerusalem as Capital of Israel..


The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, has welcomed the Australian government’s ground-breaking announcement that

“Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel.” 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement at a speech at the Sydney Institute today.

In a joint statement made by ECAJ President Anton Block and CEOs, Peter Wertheim and Alex Ryvchin, the ECAJ praised the announcement as “a simple acknowledgement of a reality that has existed since 1950.  The Prime Minister deserves credit for resisting pressure from many quarters against taking even this modest step”.

“Recognising that Israel’s seat of government is located in the western part of the city, which is incontestably sovereign Israeli territory, does not in any way impact upon or pre-judge the future status of the contested eastern and other parts of the city captured by Israel in 1967”, they said.

“The Prime Minister noted that Jerusalem’s ultimate status, including its borders and boundaries, is a final status issue to be resolved between the parties”, they added. “This is a pointed rejection of the Palestinian demand that its claim to the whole of eastern Jerusalem must be accepted up front, as was the Prime Minister’s statement that Australia expects the capital of a future Palestinian state to be located ‘in’ east Jerusalem. This leaves open the possibility that the predominantly Jewish neighbourhoods located in east Jerusalem can become a part of Israel in any negotiated settlement”.

“Australia is a respected regional power which has good relations with both Israel and the Palestinians”, the ECAJ said.  “The Australian government’s announcement sends a message to Palestinian leaders that their unilateralist approach, seeking to prise concessions out of Israel without any quid pro quo, through the UN and its agencies and via the BDS campaign, is rejected by reasonable people, and has had the opposite results to those the Palestinians had intended.  It’s a failed strategy, and the Palestinians need to return to the negotiating table.  There is no other way to achieve a Palestinian State that will be viable, and a just and lasting peace based on the principle of two States for two peoples”.

The ECAJ noted that the Australian government will delay moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until the final status of the city is determined under a peace agreement, and that in the interim Australia will establish a defence and trade office in Jerusalem.

“We hope that this will be a first step only”, the ECAJ  said. “We look forward to Australia moving its embassy in Israel to the government precinct in the western part of Jerusalem in due course.  Moving Australia’s embassy there would be no more pre-emptive of the outcome of peace negotiations than recognising it as Israel’s capital”.

The ECAJ also welcomed the Prime Minister’s criticism of the “biased and unfair targeting of Israel” in the UN General Assembly, which he described as “deeply unhelpful to efforts to build peace and stability”, and his observation that “the UN General Assembly is now the place where Israel is bullied and where antisemitism is cloaked in language about human rights.”

The ECAJ stated: “Nothing is more corrosive of the international rules-based order than this kind of bias and implicit racism within the UN’s culture. The Prime Minister’s criticisms of the UN are well-founded, and Australia’s recent rejection of biased resolutions against Israel is to be applauded”.

The ECAJ agreed with the Prime Minister’s observation that the Iran nuclear deal was not designed to address Iran’s destabilising activities in the Middle East region and beyond, its sponsorship of terrorism or its proliferation of ballistic missiles.“These are precisely the reasons why the deal should be reviewed, not affirmed”, the ECAJ said. “We hope that the Australian government will come to the same conclusion in time, but in the meantime we appreciate the measures taken by the government to constrain the Iranian regime’s aggressive and destabilising actions”.

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  1. Otto Waldmann

    Just as important, we must note the immediate reaction of the Labor opposition.
    Bill Shorten’s reply reaks of absurdities, irrational bias in favour of a known bitter, obstructive palestinian rejection of Australia’s formal, official stance on a multitude of issues relating to Israel.
    Prime Minister Morrison’s statement is one of the most impressive firm and clear attitudes of an Australian PM regarding Israel in the past few decades.
    Labor’s official views, compared to our PM Morris’s stance, poses the valid question of what sort of an Australian Jew could possibly support/vote a (im)possible Labor Govt. alternative !!

    • The Labour party has promised to give so-called Palestinians a huge wad of money to make up for the money Trump has withheld.

      I strongly suspect it’s a vote sweetner!

      • Leon Poddebsky

        The Labor Party is a de facto ally of the Arab “”Palestinians.””

    • Leon Poddebsky

      What sort of decent person of any ethnicity could support such an agenda?

  2. Leon Poddebsky

    It is not just ‘the eastern part of Jerusalem” that is contested: the dominant Arab and other Islamic (such as Indonesian and Malaysian) theology asserts that the entire Land of Israel (non-Jews call it “Palestine”) is an inalienable part of the Islamic patrimony.

    But “Western” politicians pretend not to know this.

    • I don’t think the average “western politician” has a clue about the situation in Israel and Judaea & Samaria.

  3. I was disappointed in Morrison’s decision….Firstly the suggestion of a West Jerusalem Capital, coming upon the back of the old bs chestnut… to sponsor/drive a two state solution. My opinion, accepted or otherwise, while my rectum faces terra firma, there will never be two States within the land mass that is commonly referred to as Israel.

    Why? Simply because the Camel Riders will never countenance same. They simply have a non erasable vision of Jews walking into the Mediterranean Sea. That will never change…regardless of how much you wish to kid yourself otherwise.

    Morrison would have thrown a wider vote catching net – within middle ground Australia – if he had simply said, “I am instructing that the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv be relocated to Jerusalem as quickly as humanely possible”.

    Time was on his side….if Shorten is to be the PM…it would be his vexed decision to cancel same…against a certain sizeable support base Jews enjoy in Australia…and if Morrison is the winner, then he would have clearly made the right decision. As it stands, nothing more than the end result of weak Australian politicians. I can understand the censure of a lot of Israeli Jews on line, during the past 24/36 hours.

    • Politicians are dreaming of a two state solution which we already have. It’s called Jordan.

    • Leon Poddebsky

      Graham, I agree.
      Trump’s declaration was much smarter: he referred to “Jerusalem” without any fake qualifiers.
      Mutilating Jerusalem again and putting a terrorist Arab “”Palestinian”””regime in charge would have disastrous consequences:
      1. the ongoing destructive vandalism of Jewish sites and archaeological artifacts would accelerate to advance the Arab “”Palestinian””” project of erasing every bit of concrete evidence of the 3,000 plus year-old Jewish connection with Jerusalem.
      2. The Arabs would prohibit any Jewish access to The Temple Mount, The Western Wall, The City of David etc.
      3. All Jews would be ethnically cleansed (probably murdered at worst, exiled at best) out of the old part of the city , just as the Arab “Jordanians” perpetrated during the War of Independence.

      On a positive note: Israel will never allow it.

      • Correct you are also Leon. Ideally, no Arab authority of any description, should be allowed to exist within the confines of Jerusalem…north, south, east or west. I appreciate that the reality of diplomacy, and the mix of cultural/religious interests, makes this some what of a difficulty in the ‘real time’ existence that is Jerusalem in the hear and now.

        I also personally believe, and draw a sense of reassurance, that Israel will never allow Arabs to re-configure this wonderful city, into an interpretation of how Islam would like it to be represented….as they have attempted previously…and still continually try in a more constrained manner. Regards.

  4. Otto Waldmann

    We are dealing here with a few very poignant issues.
    Morrison’s statement has provoked a sizeable upset among the palestinian leadership while also conveying the well justified reasons behind the Australian Government’s the complex pro Israel policies.
    The rhetoric engaged by Morrison is carefully calculated to maintain necessary continuous relations with important muslim nations Australia trades, but aso obliging/aligning with the most important strategic friend/ally, the United States.
    The West and East Jerusalem dual political-admin mention is a non-factual “caveat” as it is conditioned by the final outcome of the two state negotiations, in fact by the final decision with which Israel would seal the assumed treaty cum decisive peace agreement with the palestinian side.
    The two state outcome is inevitable yet dependant on the substantive acceptance of a palestinian society which Israel and Israel alone shall accept as compatible with all fundamental principles of a secure, reliable, fully trustworthy neighbour state.
    Needles to repeat that, by the same exclusive, unalterable principles, Jerusalem shall never be divided with all its cardinal points under the unique Jewish rule/administration.
    Scot Morrison’s statement clearly contains these conditions.
    Israel has no reasons to worry about this at all.