The uproar from Australia’s developing Muslim neighbour countries over the possibility of an embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was predictable. And it should be wholly ignored.
Neither Indonesia nor Malaysia even recognise Israel. Yet their leaders feel at liberty to make threats over trade and even terrorist reprisals.
These aren’t the kinds of nations Australia should want to associate with.
Why we shouldn’t take advice from Indonesia or Malaysia
Indonesia, once hoped to be a bastion for moderate Islam, has demonstrated an alarming backslide towards extremism at the highest levels of government.
Back in May 2017, an Indonesian court sentenced the Christian governor of Jakarta to two years in prison for blaspheming the Koran.
That’s right. Ahok, the governor of the capital city, was jailed for saying clerics had misinterpreted a Koran verse when they told voters Muslims weren’t allowed to vote for Christians. Clearly, he posed a danger to society.
Similar prejudice has derived from Malaysia, through derogatory comments made by the Prime Minister about the Jewish faith.
This is not a nation or government that Australia should be taking advice from. Let alone being coerced on where to locate Australia’s embassy in Israel…or anywhere else.
That’s why our own leader, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is looking at pushing a cause that will see the most peaceful ending that is possible…
The two-state solution.
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Morrison’s peaceful solution
As AAP reports, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC radio last week:
‘We are equally worried that for a very long period of time now there has been, really, no progress in relation to a two-state solution.
‘We continue to see violence as a result of that lack of progress.’
And this violence comes as recent as this week. There have been reports on the worst fighting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2014, just on the border of Gaza. Over 400 missiles were launched in the span of three days.
This attack led Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek a truce, thereby favouring the plans of the two-state solution.
Involving separate Israeli and Palestine states existing peacefully side by side, the border hugging land of Jerusalem would be shared by both.
As such, Morrison sees it necessary to move the Australian embassy from Israeli-claimed Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — the true capital of Israel — as a means to show support for the two-state solution.
But of course, the warped minds of extremist clans see this shift as a way of allowing the Israeli state to take full ownership of Jerusalem, for it is seen as the capital city even internationally.
It’s all a bunch of jealous nonsense, which our peace-seeking Australia is quite literally stuck in the middle of.
Too many sides in the embassy debate
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed voiced his concern to Scott Morrison that moving the embassy would only add fuel to this ever-burning fire.
At the Asean summit in Singapore, Dr Mahathir claims he ‘pointed out that in dealing with terrorism, one has to know the causes.’
‘Adding to the cause for terrorism is not going to be helpful.’
Indonesian opposition politician Dian Islanmiati Fatwa shared this concern, telling Fairfax Media the violent backlash would likely be sparked by the less literate Indonesian people.
‘Some of them are the radicals. They may target any western people, they may think he or she is Australian just because they look western.’
‘So I think we need to guard this issue together.’
How? By free education? Yet another thing Australia can add to the list of favours we do for this nation?
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also waded into the debate. He dismissed these concerns of the embassy move leading to terror attacks.
He also drove home the point that working towards a two-state solution can only be a step forward in the stand-still position this quest for peace is currently in.
It’s about keeping the peace, not making friends
Frydenberg told the ABC last week:
‘We’re absolutely right to commence this process and call out some of the double standards that have been applied by countries, including in our region and more broadly afield, against Israel and its history and its values.’
‘Scott Morrison was absolutely right to commence a process to look at where Australia places its embassy in Israel.’
He also claimed that having a good relationship with Indonesia is not mutually exclusive to Australia making a decision to move the embassy.
He’s not far off the mark there.
Indonesia has already placed a halt on a free trade agreement with Australia in retaliation.
As if they have the grounds to hold us at ransom. We’re the ones helping them, not the other way around. It’s our dollars they’ll cease from getting.
Ultimately, where we chose to place our embassy is our decision alone to make.
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