The reversal has stirred strong reactions from different communities, with the status of Jerusalem a strong sticking point in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Here’s why Australia’s decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel attracted controversy in the first place, and what this means now for relations between the two countries.
Why did Australia recognise West Jerusalem as the capital?
Australia followed the lead of United States president Donald Trump in December 2018 under Liberal prime minister Scott Morrison. Mr Trump recognised all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv six months later.
With Wentworth’s sizeable Jewish population, Senator Wong said Mr Morrison was trying to “unsuccessfully” win over voters.
I think the reversal of the recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is tidying up a really bad mess made by the previous government.
Professor Ben Saul
“I think the reversal of the recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is tidying up a really bad mess made by the previous government.”
What’s the controversy behind Jerusalem?
The status of Jerusalem has long been considered a contentious issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Source: SBS News
The status of Jerusalem is understood to be a significant obstacle in reaching a two-state solution. Most countries have stayed neutral, believing the capital city should be a decision settled on by a future Palestinian state and Israel.
“It’s completely sensible for the current government to walk that back and to restore the international status quo on Jerusalem,” he said.
“We thank the current Australian government for differentiating itself from the dangerous political posturing of the previous government,” he said in a statement.
What does this mean for Israel-Australia relations?
The Zionist Federation of Australia described the reversal as “deeply disappointing” and sent a “very unfortunate message” to Israel.
SBS News has contacted the Israeli embassy in Canberra for comment.
Has any other country recognised West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
Instead, Brazil opened a trade mission based in West Jerusalem in 2019 and has kept its embassy in Tel Aviv.