Scott Morrison in a Jerusalem jam
The conventional wisdom is that Scott Morrison will quietly drop the idea of shifting Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem before the end of the year. Don't be so sure.
The events of this week have only hardened the resolve of those who support the move and made it more likely the Prime Minister will press ahead with the shift.
As he ventured onto the world stage this week at the ASEAN summit in Singapore, the Prime Minister quickly discovered the regional resistance to the embassy move was very real. The two biggest Muslim nations in our region made their concerns clear.
The Indonesians warned shifting the embassy to Jerusalem could scuttle a free trade deal with Australia. The Malaysian Prime Minister warned it could even motivate terrorists.
In the face of this pressure, the Prime Minister doubled down: "We can't have Australia's foreign policy determined, or our agenda set, by any other nation."
These comments were hugely significant. They now make it very difficult for Morrison to capitulate.
He would be badly weakened if he backed away from the embassy move now. He's boxed himself in.
He would also anger a growing number of Liberal MPs who've publicly backed the move.
The pressure from Indonesia and Malaysia emboldened a string of backbench conservatives, including Michael Sukkar, Eric Abetz, Andrew Hastie and Jim Molan.
"I think the more foreign neighbours try to interfere and threaten Australia with consequences for this decision, the stronger our support and resolve for this proposal gets," Sukkar tells this column.
"West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, recognised by every reasonable nation in the world.
"We will not be bullied into ignoring that fact by threats of terrorism," says Hastie.
"Mahathir's intervention inviting us not to move because of terrorists is exactly how terrorists achieve their evil aims, hoping we can cave in out of fear," says Abetz.
These conservatives aren't alone. Moderate leader Christopher Pyne also argued strongly in support of shifting the embassy to West Jerusalem this week.
He says it should be accompanied by an "intention" to establish an embassy in East Jerusalem under a future Palestinian state.
And then there's the strongest advocate within the government of shifting the embassy - Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
He blasted the Malaysian leader for his terrorism suggestion.
"Mahathir has form," Frydenberg said. "He has called Jews hook-nosed people, he has questioned the number of people that have been killed in the Holocaust."
Even Liberal Party elder John Howard has today backed the shift.
All of this makes it incredibly difficult for Morrison to back down.
If he scrapped the idea, he would in the words of his own colleagues be "caving in to fear".
He would also be caving in to the pressure from Bill Shorten, who joined the pile-on this week.
The Opposition Leader said Morrison had only "made himself look stupid and made our country look stupid" and should drop the idea altogether.
The Prime Minister is now in a jam of his own making.
If he does decide to move the Australian embassy to Jerusalem, he'll have to explain how this will help the peace process in the Middle East. There's no evidence Donald Trump's decision to move the US embassy earlier this year has done that.
Then again, there's little sign of a peace process at all right now.
If he does decide to move the embassy, Morrison will also have to explain what advice has been given by Australia's national security agencies.
And he'll have to weather the possibility of a trade deal with Indonesia being stalled or entirely scuttled.
Some within the Coalition are frustrated the government is talking about this at all.
They say it's been a ham-fisted political debacle from the start and left the Prime Minister in a lose-lose situation: he either upsets important regional neighbours by going ahead with the embassy move or drops it and looks like a goose.
These frustrated Coalition MPs would rather everyone focused on the good economics news this week: more jobs being created and wages even starting to climb.
The embassy debate, they say, has become an unnecessary and costly distraction.
Either way, the Prime Minister must now settle this by the end of the year and announce a decision.
This should, of course, be a decision based on what sort of foreign policy outcome shifting the embassy might achieve.
But the domestic political reality can't be ignored.
If Morrison abandons the embassy move, he will be at odds with many in his party and exposed politically.
With so many MPs now on the record supporting the Jerusalem option and defiantly insisting Australia cannot be bullied, it's hard to see how the Prime Minister can do anything but press ahead.