“We welcome Australia’s decision with regards to Jerusalem (al-Quds) & its call for a two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy,” PA’s civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh said on Twitter on Tuesday.
Sheikh also hailed Australia’s affirmation that the future of sovereignty over al-Quds “depends on the permanent solution based on international legitimacy.”
During a media briefing on Tuesday, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the government “recommits Australia to international efforts in the responsible pursuit of progress towards a just and enduring … solution” to the issue of Palestine.
She added that the status of al-Quds should be decided through talks between Israelis and Palestinians and not through unilateral decisions.
Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid criticized the policy reversal by Australia’s center-left government as a “hasty response”.
The Israeli regime occupied the western part of the city during a Western-backed war in 1948. It also occupied the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, including East al-Quds, in another war in 1967.
Ever since, the Israeli regime has dotted the territory with hundreds of illegal settlements that have come to house hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital. The Israeli regime, however, lays claim to the entire city as its so-called capital.
In 2018, a conservative government in Australia led by Scott Morrison followed then-US president Donald Trump’s lead in naming al-Quds as the Israeli capital.
The move caused a domestic backlash in Australia and led to friction with neighboring Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation – temporarily derailing a free trade deal.
The decision was also denounced by Palestinians as an obstacle to achieving peace in the region. They urged Arab countries to review their trade and political ties with Australia.