Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad slams Canberra saying "Jerusalem has always been under Palestine... and [is] not the capital of Israel".

Mahathir Mohamad was in Bangkok to receive an honorary doctorate from Rangsit University where he critcised Australia dividing occupied Jerusalem.
Mahathir Mohamad was in Bangkok to receive an honorary doctorate from Rangsit University where he critcised Australia dividing occupied Jerusalem. (Reuters)

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday said Australia has "no right" to divide Jerusalem.

Mahathir who was in Bangkok to receive an honorary doctorate from Rangsit University critcised Australia's formal recognition of occupied city's West Jerusalem portion as Israel's capital.

"Jerusalem has always been under Palestine, so why are they taking the initiative to divide Jerusalem not belonging to them, but to divide between the Arabs and the Jews. They have no right," he said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday said Australia formally recognises West Jerusalem as Israel's capital but will not move its embassy there immediately from Tel Aviv. 

In October, Morrison said he was open to shifting Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv. 

'Not acceptable'

"Jerusalem should remain as it is now and not the capital of Israel," the Malaysian PM said. 

"Of course, according to the Australian eventually West Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem should be capital of Palestine. But for outside countries to impose condition and to tell people what to do with their own countries, that is not acceptable."

On Saturday, Australia's neighbour Indonesia urged Canberra and the UN to "promptly recognise the State of Palestine". 

Trump move and subsequent killings

President Donald Trump's move of the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May delighted Israel, infuriated Palestinians and upset the wider Arab world and Western allies. 

Both Israel and the Palestinians claim entire Jerusalem as their capital.

Trump's decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv last May prompted tens of thousands of Palestinians to approach the heavily-protected Israeli fence. More than 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops that day.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies