Australian PM mulls moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Australian PM mulls moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem
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Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, is reportedly considering following in President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE’s footsteps and moving the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Morrison said Tuesday that he is “open” to the move, The Guardian reported.

He argued that Israeli-Palestinian relations have not made progress and blamed “the orthodoxy that’s driven this debate which says issues like considering the question of the capital are taboo.”

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Palestinians hope to make east Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state, and the ancient city contains holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

“We’re committed to a two-state solution, but frankly, it hasn’t been going that well,” Morrison said, according to multiple reports. “Not a lot of progress has been made. And you don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.”

He reportedly called the proposal “sensible” and immediately faced questions from media about whether his evangelical Christian views were influencing his decision.

“My faith and religion has nothing to do with this decision,” he said.

Morrison said the Liberal party candidate, former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, raised the issue for him, according to The Guardian.

Sharma said the previous day that Australia "should be open to considering it" when asked about moving the embassy, according to news.com.au.

“Australia’s position on this issue has, to date, assumed that it is not possible to consider the question of the recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem and that be consistent with pursuing a two-state solution,” Morrison said.

Trump announced last December that the U.S. would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — contradicting decades of American foreign policy in the Middle East. 

The new Jerusalem embassy opened in May amid deadly clashes between Israelis and Palestinians at the border.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 52 Palestinians during protests along the border of the Gaza Strip, according to the BBC, on the bloodiest day there since the 2014 Gaza war.

Morrison said neither Trump nor the United States delegation in Israel have pushed Australia to move the embassy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Monday that he had spoken with Morrison on the issue.