MOFA calls on Australia not to change its position on Jerusalem in order to preserve its interests

PNN/ Ramallah/

The Palestine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates deplored the statements made on Tuesday by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, regarding his country’s serious consideration of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transferring its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The ministry said that the mere introduction of this subject is considered a stray from international law and the United Nations Resolutions, particularly Security Council Resolution 478 (1980).

The Ministry said it was surprised from the contradictory logic presented in the Australian Prime Minister’s speech, which “emphasizes adherence to the two-state solution and the encouragement of the parties to continue dialogue and negotiations towards a peace agreement, while at the same time considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

“How can Australia continue this encouragement to the Palestinian side while fully working against it by declaring its intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel!” MOFA statement said. “Such action will only encourage the occupying state to refuse to return to the negotiating table with Palestine, thereby preventing the possibility of achieving a lasting peace, the goal which Mr. Morrison talks about,” it added.

The ministry said that this contradiction is further verified in his statements, where on one hand he considered his country’s recognition of Jerusalem and the transfer of its embassy as an encouragement to the parties to move forward with negotiations, while on the other hand he considered his country’s rejection of the draft resolution presented in the United Nations General Assembly today, October 16, 2018 to upgrade the powers of the delegation of the State of Palestine, as a step to prevent the failure of attempts to bring the parties to sit together.

“It is no longer understood how the transfer of his country’s embassy and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will preserve the peace process, while the vote of the United Nations General Assembly in favor of upgrading the powers of the delegation of the State of Palestine solemnly during its presidency of Group 77 and China will undermine those opportunities!” it added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said it wishes to explicate to the Australian Prime Minister that the commitment towards a two-state solution means that no unilateral action shall be taken to undermine the status of Jerusalem. Furthermore, Australia’s commitment to the concept of a two-state solution is not a nominal or configurable commitment, detached from the other core issues such as Jerusalem, borders, settlements, refugees, security or water; it is linked to the outcome of the negotiations on these issues of final status, and only on the basis thereof, and when reaching an understanding regarding them, can a peace agreement be signed to allow the implementation of the two-state solution.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates concluded by saying it awaits the Prime Minister of Australia to reconsider these “damaging statements” to Australian interests and its international positions.

“The Ministry also hopes that the Australian opposition, civil society organizations, the Australian business sector and the Arab and Islamic communities  in Australia shall raise their voices to the Australian government, so it can re-examine the direction set by David Sharma for Australia, before it is officially adopted.”