timebomb in a backpack representing terrorist attack

Why Australia Should Ignore Indonesia and Malaysia’s Embassy Angst

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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The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune is an unorthodox news service. Your Australian Tribune editorial team deliver the unfiltered stories that could impact your daily life — political and economic stories you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. And we’re not afraid to step on some toes to do it. We are honest, conservative and never dull. We are an independent service, meaning we don’t answer to shareholders or outside advertisers. This helps avoid conflicts of interest that inhibit mainstream sources, which keeps our voice independent. The Australian Tribune is owned and operated by Port Phillip Publishing.
Comments: 4

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  1. I do not support moving the Australian Embassy to Israel. What I want is peace and moving the embassy is going to undermine any possibility (low as one may currently be). Why offend/ upset/ anger people when we don’t need to? The problems in the Middle East are unlikely fully understood by those who do not live there. There is no need to move the embassy, it’s functioning fine just where it is. And the last person whose decisions I would want to follow in diplomatic relations would be Donald Trump.

    1. Lisa:

      Why not respect the right of Israel to determine where it’s capital should be? All countries should have their embassies in Jeruslaem

      Time to stop appeasing intolerant Moslems

  2. If we happened to suggest to Indonesia and Malaysia where they should or should not place their embassies, in the other countries and cities, would not they simply tell us to mind our own business. Should not they likewise mind their own business.

  3. Both Lisa and Joe are right (as contradictory as that may seem to say) There is no real reason to shift our embassy and it also, is no business of any other nation where we want to put our embassies. I bet no one would be banging on if Russia did the same?!
    Thing is, Jerusalem has been the capital for Jews since well before the Islamic faith was created by Mohamed, this has always been and should always be recognised as the Romans did even while they were the occupying rulers in their time!
    I have Muslim friends who feel the same as I and that’s why they respect and enjoy the privilege of living in our nation where none of this crap matters… The problem begins with the few Muslims who want to assert there religion upon the world and I’m not sorry to say that secularism is king (not God mind you) just king… With a lower case “K”.
    Religion gets in the way of progress….