The Australian government is preparing to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel, but is reportedly not planning on relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv in the near future.
According to a report Tuesday by The Australian, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his cabinet will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at a meeting Tuesday night, with a formal announcement expected on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Morrison took office in late August after the ruling Liberal Party turned on his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, over frustration in the party’s conservative wing with his leadership.
Shortly after he entered office, it was reported that Morrison was weighing the possibility of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the relocation of the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The report Tuesday states that the Australian government approved recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Monday night, though the cabinet is only expected to ratify the decision sometime Tuesday night.
While Australia will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, sources told The Australian that the embassy will not be relocated in the immediate future, due to the $200 million estimated cost of moving the facility.
Instead, Australia is reportedly planning to open a consular facility in the Israeli capital in lieu of an embassy move.
If Australia does recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will join a small but growing number of countries to do so, including the United States, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, and Honduras.
In 2017, Russia announced that it recognized the western part of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while also recognizing the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state.