The Western Wall of the Old City is one of Jerusalem’s most visited sites. Picture: Getty Images
The Western Wall of the Old City is one of Jerusalem’s most visited sites. Picture: Getty Images

PM to recognise West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will move to formally recognise­ West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a major shake-up to Australia's foreign­ policy.

Mr Morrison will today give a speech to the Sydney Institute that endorses Israel's claim to the contested city and bills the policy change as a means to progress peace talks in the Middle East.

Mr Morrison will also accuse­ the United Nations of taking part in anti-Semitism, which he will describe as a growing problem, The Weekend Australian has reported.

However, Mr Morrison will back away from moving the Australian Embassy in Israel­ from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem­ - which he had previously called a "sensible" decision.

Days before the Wentworth by-election, Mr Morrison revealed he was in favour of recognising West Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the embassy there.

"I am open to further pursuing (moving the embassy) … I am saying I'm open to considering it," he said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will discuss Israel in a speech at the Sydney Institute on Saturday. Picture: AAP
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will discuss Israel in a speech at the Sydney Institute on Saturday. Picture: AAP

At the time his comments caused issues with the negotiation of a trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia, with leaders in the heavily Islamic country expressing concerns.

And the head of the Palestinian delegation in Canberra, Izzat Abdulhadi, said the decision would only damage international relationships between Australia and other Middle Eastern countries.

Mr Morrison has been seeking advice from security officials since floating the idea without consultation.

Mr Morrison will also move to retain support for the Iran Nuclear deal despite flagging his desire to scrap it earlier in the year, The Weekend Australian reported.

However, Mr Morrison will raise the possibility of implementing­ "autonomous sanctions" against Iran in relation to its role in sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East.

Mr Morrison will open a defence and trade office in Jerusalem­ as a symbolic gesture­ reflecting the bilateral relationship.