Australian Senator Eric Abetz argues the country’s embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and used a recent television debate to push his point.
Mr. Abetz said that Jerusalem is the seat of governance for Israel and should be its capital, with Australia moving its own embassy there a symbolic recognotion of that fact. Mr. Abetz added that Israel is a sovereign nation and as such should be allowed to determine its own capital without outside interference.
Some of Judaism’s holiest sites are also located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
This is not the first time the conservative Senator has entered the debate over Australia’s diplomatic representation in Israel.
Last year he wrote privately to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to ask her to consider shifting the embassy, and he is now calling for the ministry to consider it.
“The suggestion that the embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is one that I think is slowly but surely gaining momentum,” he told AM last January.
“Given the indications by [Mr] Trump, there is a gaining momentum, and so in those circumstances I would invite the executive of our government in Australia to give very serious consideration to following suit if that does develop into a trend.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also called to move Australia’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He visited Israel just before Christmas in 2016 and used an opinion piece in the Spectator Australia magazine to argue that Australia should follow suit when Donald Trump follows through on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com