A top secret bulletin by Australia’s spy agency says that relocating the country’s embassy to Jerusalem “may provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence” both in the Middle East and at home.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A top secret Australian report warning of damaging financial and security repercussions should the prime minister go ahead with his idea to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem was leaked by a local Australian paper Thursday.
Obtained by The Guardian, the bulletin – marked by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization as secret AUSTEO (Australian eyes only) and sent to government ministers Monday, right before Prime Minister Scott Morrison publicly floated his views on the issue – spoke of the dangers inherent in the “expected announcement” by the government of a shift to a more “pro-Israel/anti-Iran stance.”
The “anti-Iran stance” apparently referred to Morrison’s suggestion that Australia might follow the United States in leaving the Iran nuclear deal.
Included in the bulletin’s list of possible perils were “unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank” and the targeting by violent protesters of Australian interests, including its diplomatic facilities in Iran.
Within Australia itself, the bulletin said, Jewish or Israeli organizations could be targeted by protests as well, although here the agency did not mention violence as an issue.
The secret warning also said that the policy shift would “attract international attention.”
Representatives from 13 Middle Eastern and North African embassies in Australia condemned the idea, calling it a “fatal mistake” that would likely cause a breakdown in economic relations with Arab and Muslim countries. Neighboring Indonesia, with which Australia is trying to negotiate a trade deal, conveyed “strong concern” about the move.
The U.S. had also been warned by many international leaders, who cited still graver concerns, ahead of its scheduled embassy move to Jerusalem. Saudi Arabian King bin Salman said that “such a dangerous step is likely to inflame the passions of Muslims around the world due to the great status of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Those warnings, however, did not materialize.