Australia Reverses Recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
Ahead of its visit to Israel in September, Arab League Chair Amr Moussa, left, walks along the streets of East Jerusalem, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Bethlehem, West Bank, Monday, Aug. 19, 2014. AP/Mahmoud Nasser
It is now clear that Israel will not allow the U.N.’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process to visit the region any time soon, unless it cancels its plan to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, the Palestinians fear. The latest diplomatic embarrassment comes only two weeks after the United States, as the world’s sole superpower, decided to abstain from voting on a U.N. Security Council resolution which would have revoked Israel’s decades-old occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967.
To the surprise of no one, the Arab League — the world’s largest bloc — voted Tuesday in favor of the resolution, a sign of the growing Arab frustration with the Obama administration’s approach to this issue. The abstention by the United States and abstentions by Britain and France, the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, will no doubt be seen as a setback for the United States’ effort to reach out to its Arab partners in a bid to promote a fair and just diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This development has come in time for the Palestinians to plan a major effort to bring world leaders to the region to hold a summit and to push for a permanent resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
The U.S. abstention, in particular, is of little consequence. Even if it were to be reversed, the Palestinian Authority could not impose any change on Israel’s