MEDIA RELEASE: US embassy move to Jerusalem and Gaza riots

The following media release concerns the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the ongoing Gaza riots. To download this media release in PDF format, click here.

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US embassy move to Jerusalem and Gaza riots

15 May, 2018

The ECAJ policy platform has for many years affirmed the centrality of Jerusalem historically, religiously and culturally to Jews and Judaism. It has called on the Australian Government to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and to transfer the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is gratifying to see the US fulfil a long-standing commitment by successive Presidents to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and of course we would like Australia to follow suit.

Israel has no better friends than Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop. Nevertheless we respectfully disagree with their view that re-locating the Australian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the US has now done, would harm the prospects for peace.

Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is simply a pragmatic acknowledgement of the fact that Jerusalem has been Israel’s seat of government for almost 70 years. Israel’s parliament, Ministerial offices, Supreme Court, President’s residence, the Prime Minister’s residence and now the US Embassy are all located in the western part of Jerusalem which has been a part of Israel’s sovereign territory since shortly after the State was established. This area is not a part of the so-called “occupied” territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

It follows that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not entail any pre-judgement about the final boundaries of Jerusalem, or alter the status quo concerning the Holy sites. Nor would it pre-empt the outcome of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for a two-state solution. The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US, the Czech Republic, Guatamala, Honduras, Paraguay and even Russia does not preclude the designation of the predominantly Arab neighbourhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, if this were to be part of a comprehensive peace agreement.

The cynical manipulation by Hamas of its own people, including children, to sacrifice their lives in order to make a false political point demonstrates yet again how unfit for government Hamas is. No responsible government treats its own people as dispensable pawns for its own ends. The results are not only tragic for the people concerned, but a travesty. Once again Palestinian leaders have shown that their true priority is not to establish an independent Palestinian state, but to tear down the world’s only independent Jewish state.

Contact:
Peter Wertheim AM | Co-CEO
ph: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904
e: pwertheim@ecaj.org.au | www.ecaj.org.au