During the last election campaign, the Australian Labor Party, then in opposition, promised that if elected, it would reverse the 2018 decision of the then government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the Conservative Party to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
|A view of Jerusalem. Source: AFP/VNA|
At this time, the Australian Prime Minister has quickly followed the precedent set by then-US President Donald Trump with his decision to recognize the entirety of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, thus satisfying Israel's soul and mood. Until now, even after the Trump administration had moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, only a few countries in the world took the same line as the US. The new US administration of Democratic President Joe Biden has declined to undo Trump's decision, although most US diplomatic personnel are still based in Tel Aviv, and the former US consulate in Jerusalem has been reactivated.
Australia appears to be the first of the countries to recognize Jerusalem to backtrack, thus creating a new precedent. This move is rooted in the Labor Party's traditional policy on the enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict that calls for and supports a "two-state solution" to this conflict. It also reflects Australia's Labour administration's pragmatic and realistic approach under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on this sensitive and controversial issue. This party, now in power after winning the last election, must deliver on its electoral commitments and maintain its credibilities while preserving its traditional values and policies.
The new Australian government has made it clear to the new US administration that the Australian side does not need to do anything the US wants it to do to win the US as an ally and strategic partner, as was the case between the Trump administration and the Morisson government.
The Australian side seemed confident that the Biden administration would not care much about the Morisson government's reversal of the Jerusalem-related decision out of a belief that the US, as it demonstrated in its latest National Security Strategy, prioritizes the Indo-Pacific region, where Australia is geographically located, over the Middle East.
Moreover, as Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong confessed, Australia increasingly feels directly the increasingly counterproductive policy of having queued up the Trump administration on the Jerusalem issue.
This new precedent immediately soured Australia-Israel relations. But it would indeed have substantial impacts on other countries around the world on the Jerusalem issue, increase the hesitation of many countries to recognize Jerusalem or even West Jerusalem as Israel's capital and encourage them to undertake more substantial efforts to bring about and implement the "two-state solution."
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.