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Of Jerusalem and narrow political interests

Of Jerusalem and narrow political interests
Highlights

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, surprised the world by declaring that he recognises West Jerusalem as Israels capital But the Embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not happen until a peace settlement is achieved between Israel and Palestine Now Australia is the third country after the US and Guatemala to recognise the contested city as Israels capital Scott also added that Australia als

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, surprised the world by declaring that he recognises West Jerusalem as Israel's capital. But the Embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not happen until a peace settlement is achieved between Israel and Palestine. Now Australia is the third country after the US and Guatemala to recognise the contested city as Israel's capital. Scott also added that Australia also recognised the aspirations of the Palestinians to a State with a capital in East Jerusalem.

Naturally, his Opposition has vowed to reverse the decision if it won the next year's elections. Precisely, this is the reason why Morrison thought it fit to appease Israelis with his announcement - next elections. US President Donald Trump drew international criticism last year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel's capital. The US Embassy too was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. Morrison's announcement comes after a period of consultation with politicians in Australia and allies abroad.

In the interim between now and the shifting of the Embassy, Australia will set up a defence and trade office in West Jerusalem. The State of Jerusalem is in the heart of Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel regards Jerusalem as its 'eternal and undivided' capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of future State. Internationally, however, Jerusalem has never been recognised as Israel's capital. According to 1933 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

However, notwithstanding all these, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 20,000 Jews in East Jerusalem. So why did Morrison do this? Morrison had floated a shift in foreign policy in October, which angered Australia's immediate neighbour Indonesia - the world’s most populous Muslim nation - affecting bilateral trade too. The Jerusalem decision could help the embattled Australian Prime Minister who is all set to receive drubbing in the hands of the electorate next year garner Jewish and conservative Christian votes and also win him friends in the White House.

The Opposition Labour Party knows it and has rightly slammed the Prime Minister for his petty personal politics sacrificing the nation's interests of the long term. The Palestinian government will now be pressing for Arab and Muslim States to withdraw their Ambassadors and take some 'meat and wheat' style economic boycott measures over Canberra decision. Such would be the impact of the short-sighted measures! Politicians blissfully ignore larger interests of their State for immediate political gains just to remain in power world over. Should they be allowed to do so? Let the voters in Australia think twice before they vote next year.

We too have similar problems with our politicians here. Some talk of the region, racial pride, language, customs etc., to perpetuate their political interests when it comes to elections. Gujarati vs Bengalee, Marathi vs Bihari, Andhra vs Telangana, South vs North… it goes on endlessly. But all the leaders claim to be national leaders and want to impact the national politics despite their pygmy sized characters working overtime against national interests!

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