Australia's ex-PM Tony Abbott Suggests Moving Israel Embassy to Jerusalem

Tony Abbott also calls on Canberra to cut its aid to the Palestinian Authority as a show of support for Israel.

Australia's former Prime Minister Tony Abbott attends Britain's annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 5, 2016.
Toby Melville, Reuters

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Saturday that if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's administration moves its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Australia should do the same.

In an article published in The Spectator, a British weekly, Abbott also called on Canberra to cut its aid to the Palestinian Authority. 

Abbott published the comments after travelling to Israel with a delegation of Australian and British lawmakers and officials.

Abbott said Australia should demonstrate "its unswerving support for Israel" by cutting "our $40 million a year in aid to the Palestinian Authority while it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families" and considering joining "any move by the Trump administration to move its embassy to Jerusalem." 

Abbott also wrote that a "permanent settlement" should be reached that establishes a Palestinian state, noting that "the alternative is a kind of apartheid that’s at odds with Israel’s own values." But he asserted that there are "lots of lesser issues that could be fixed before this one is resolved." 

Trump has promised on numerous occasions, including personally to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting in late September, to quickly move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Last month, Haaretz reported on a December 1 meeting between Michael Flynn, Trump's designated national security adviser, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Israel's acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel. During the meeting, Flynn said that Trump is serious about moving the embassy to Jerusalem and intends to do so. This was the most significant confirmation Israel had heard on this issue since Trump won the election.