Israeli-Palestinian conflict Current Affairs - 2020

Australia Recognizes West Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

On 15th December 2018, Australia recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. With this, Australia has become one of the few countries that officially recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and as the seat of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament). This move is supposed to irk Indonesia and other countries.

However, Australia has made it clear that it will not move its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is reached between Israel and Palestine. Yet, Australia will establish a defence and trade office in Jerusalem and start looking for an embassy site


West Jerusalem is that part of Jerusalem which remained under Israeli control after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.  A number of western countries such as the UK acknowledge de facto Israeli authority, but withhold de jure recognition.  Israel’s claim of sovereignty over West Jerusalem is more widely accepted than its claim over city of East Jerusalem

  • Both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital.
  • Before this, United States President Donald Trump’s administration had also announced recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017.
  • The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in opposition to declare the US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”
  • India also supported the resolution, which was approved with a majority of 127-9 at the UN General Assembly calling for the US to withdraw its decision

The Israeli–Palestinian tussle is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians that began in the mid-20th century. The origins of this conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration, and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs. This conflict has been referred to as the world’s “most intractable conflict”, with the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for last 51 years

US withdraws from UNESCO accusing it for anti-Israel bias

The United States has announced its withdrawal from Paris-based United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), UN’s cultural agency accusing the body of anti-Israel bias. Besides US, Israel has also decided to pull out of UNESCO. US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. Until then, it will remain a full member. US has announced to establish an observer mission to replace its representation at UNESCO.


USA and UNESCO were at loggerheads since 2011, after UNESCO had admitted Palestinian territories to the organization as an independent member-state called Palestine. UNESCO was first UN agency to recognise and admit Palestine as full member. The recognition was against US policy in Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This was against US’s law which cut off its funding for any organization that recognizes independent Palestine. The US had previously paid for 22% ($80 million) of UNESCO’s annual budget. UNESCO in 2013, had suspended US voting rights in its core decision-making bodies after US missed several rounds of payments to UNESCO.

United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

UNESCO is UN organization that helps preserve historical and cultural sites worldwide. It is special multi-country agency, formed in 1945 and based in France. It promotes literacy and sex education as well as improving gender equality in countries around the world. It is also known for recognising world heritage sites and work to preserve cultural and heritage sites such as ancient ruins, villages and temples, and historic sites.