WENTWORTH MP Kerryn Phelps has accused the Liberal Party of misquoting her following a Sky News interview in which she discussed the location of Australia’s embassy in Israel.
During the interview on Monday, Phelps was asked if she welcomed the Australia–Indonesia free trade agreement being signed that day “given the difficulties at the end of last year when the Prime Minister floated the idea of moving Australia’s embassy in Israel”.
“It was a very ill-considered foreign policy, it didn’t consider any of the security or trade or foreign policy issues that would come with such a decision so the Indonesian free trade agreement was delayed from the end of last year until now,” she replied.
Asked if she agreed Jewish voters in Wentworth would want to see the embassy moved, she replied, “There’s mixed feelings, even in Israel, about where embassies should be located.
“Certainly in Israel the constitution calls for the eternal and undivided capital of Jerusalem, not a divided capital. So that is certainly an impediment to dividing the capital by foreign policy.”
It prompted Liberal candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma, who served as Australia’s ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017, to share a snippet of the interview on social media with the comment, “There are definitely no ‘mixed feelings’ in Israel about where their capital is. And Israel doesn’t have a constitution. Talk about all over the shop.”
Commenting via social media on Tuesday, Phelps said, “The Liberal Party is addicted to lies. Not content with constant fibs about climate change and refugees, they have now shifted to deliberately misquoting me on Israel.”
Asked for clarification of her comments by The AJN, she said by “mixed feelings in Israel” she was referring to some senior Israelis questioning the recognition of only West Jerusalem rather than a unified city.
She cited a tweet by Likud minister Tzachi Hanegbi which stated, “Australia is a great friend of Israel and we greatly appreciate our friendship and warm relations. But there is no such thing as ‘West Jerusalem’ and ‘East Jerusalem.’ There is only Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the state of Israel.”
Phelps also clarified that it is Israel’s basic laws that call for Jerusalem to be undivided.