Australia is open to the idea of having a new, formal diplomatic presence in Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told a group of Jewish community leaders.
Bishop said Australia would happily follow Britain if it opened a High Commission or a consulate in the capital, and it could “look at” stationing diplomats there.
“In Morocco we bunked in with the British. We have our door and our flag here (at the front) and the British flag and door at the back and we share the back-of-house costs, because all countries need to be represented everywhere,” she said. “We bunk in with the Canadians every now and again, the Brits are trying to pile on top of us in Bali and we’ve got the Brits in with us in Wellington.
“I hate to put it in that context, but let me have a look at what is happening in West Jerusalem. If there is a British High Commission there or a consulate of some description we can look at that.”
Bishop was responding to a question from Zionism Victoria immediate past president Sam Tatarka. According to the Australian Jewish News (AJN), he asked if Australia would open a consulate or high commission in West Jerusalem.
Mr. Tatarka said if Australia did establish a presence in Jerusalem, it would make a statement to the world. “The location, in terms of sharing with another country, is not important,” he told the AJN.
“If Australia were to establish a formal diplomatic presence in Jerusalem it would be perceived internationally as a significant step.”
Australia’s positive response follows the indecision that seems to surround the U.S. position on moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, last month Secretary of State Rex Tillerson contradicted earlier assurances from the White House that U.S. President Donald Trump has decided the move will certainly happen at some point.
“He has not made that decision yet, to my knowledge,” Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On June 1, Trump signed a six-month waiver of a congressional mandate on moving the embassy. Tillerson said that until the next waiver comes due, the administration plans to review the policy.
Britain, United States, France, Greece and Italy all have diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, although their main embassies, like Australia’s, are located in Tel Aviv.
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