Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Saturday that his government will recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but won't yet move its embassy from Tel Aviv.
Morrison announced the recognition during a speech in Sydney, where he said it was a "balanced" and "measured" position.
"Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset [Israel's parliament] and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel," Morrison said.
Morrison added that a two-state solution is the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, with "aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem."
Morrison said that the embassy wouldn't move move from Tel Aviv at least for now.
"We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem, when practical, in support of and after a final status determination," he said. "We've decided to start the work there now, to identify a suitable site for an Australian embassy in West Jerusalem."
President Donald Trump announced a year ago that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital without making a distinction between the west and east. Palestinians make up a large portion of the population of East Jerusalem.
However, the United Nations position cautioning against unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital remained unchanged.
The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network criticized Australia's foreign policy shift, which ends a long-standing policy of recognizing Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel.
"It serves no Australian interest, will weaken our trade and security relations with regional partners, and may irreparably injure our international reputation by aligning Australia with the Trump and Netanyahu governments against an overwhelming international consensus regarding the status of Jerusalem," APAN's president Bishop George Browning said.
"This sabotages any real possibility for a future just agreement."