West Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital: Australia

Following in the footsteps of the U.S. and Guatemala, Australia has recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The country won't move its Tel Aviv embassy, however, until a peace deal is reached in the region, The BBC reported.

Read more: Dozens shot dead protesting U.S. embassy move on Gaza's bloodiest day since 2014 war

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the decision in Sydney, Saturday. "Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel," he said. "We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical... and after final status determination.

Morrison floated the idea back in October, telling reporters at the time that Australia backed a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict, but that such a resolution "hasn't been going that well—not a lot of progress has been made."

The status of Jerusalem is a source of intense disagreement in the region. Israel views he entire ancient city its "eternal" capital. The Palestinians, on the other hand, claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. East Jerusalem was occupied by the Israeli military in 1967.

Morrison said Australia recognizes the Palestinians' hopes for a future East Jerusalem capital.

President Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, after announcing the decision back in 2017. Many observers viewed the relocation as a show of support for Israel's claim to the city as its capital.

Dozens of protesting Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza-Israel border on the day of the embassy move. Dozens more were killed and thousands wounded over weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations.

Senior advisor Jared Kushner was criticized for comments on the protests made during the new embassy's opening ceremony. "As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution," he said at the event.

Commentators blasted Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, as " completely out of touch" in the wake of the ceremony. "They just seem totally oblivious [to the violence in Gaza]," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said at the time.

Paraguay recently reversed a decision to move its own embassy in Israel to Jerusalem - a U-turn criticized by the Trump administration at the time. Vice President Mike Pence put pressure on the country to change the decision again, a White House statement revealed.

"The Vice President strongly encouraged President Abdo Benitez to follow through with Paraguay's previous commitment to move the embassy as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States," the statement read.

Israel, Jerusalem, Australia, Tel Aviv, Capital City
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces that Australia will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a speech at the Australian Institute on December 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Mick Tsikas-Pool/Getty Images