Al-Azhar welcomes Australia’s decision to annul recognition of West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Habiba Hamdy , Thursday 20 Oct 2022

Al-Azhar – the Sunni Muslim world’s top religious institution – welcomed on Thursday Australia’s recent reversal of its 2018 recognition of West Jerusalem (known in Arabic as ‘Al-Quds Al-Gharbiya’) as Israel’s capital.

A file photo of Al-Azhar headquarters in Cairo (Photo: Al-Ahram)


The religious institution praised the Australian government’s announcement and affirmed its position on Jerusalem as the “eternal” capital of Palestine, according to a statement.

Al-Azhar reiterated its lack of tolerance for any violation of Palestinians' rights in reclaiming their land and establishing an independent state.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second largest organization after the United Nations with 57 member states in four continents, also welcomed the decision.

The Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said that the recognition had been a result of a promise made by former Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison to win a by-election in Wentworth, an Australian electoral division with a large Jewish population.

Wong added that Australia “is committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”

Moreover, the Australian top diplomat said that both she and the current Labor party government were “supporters of the Palestinian people and that the Australian government has provided humanitarian support every year since 1951 and advocated for resumed peace negotiations.” 

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have been using live rounds, tear gas, and stun grenades against Palestinian protesters in recent days, leading to dozens of Palestinians injured in the West Bank. 

Egypt called on Thursday for the immediate cessation of ongoing violence, assaults and provocations and for providing security to civilians whose lives and resources were constantly endangered, a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry said it is following closely and with deep concern “Israel's continued violations and dangerous escalation”. It urged major powers and peace process partners to work on halting violence in the Palestinian lands and to take immediate action to reduce tensions between Palestinian and Israelis and encourage them to resume peace talks.

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