Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting the EU, yesterday praised US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as his country’s capital and said he expected Europeans to follow suit.
“It makes peace possible because recognizing reality is the substance of peace, the foundation of peace,” Netanyahu told reporters as he was greeted by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini before a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
“There is now an effort to bring forward a new peace proposal by the American administration. I think we should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace,” Netanyahu said.
He said Trump’s move, condemned by the Palestinians and by European governments, should be emulated by them.
“It’s time that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state and also recognize the fact that it has a capital. It’s called Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that, even though we don’t have an agreement yet, this is what will happen in the future. I believe that all, or most, of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and engage robustly with us for security, prosperity and peace.”
Mogherini, welcoming Netanyahu on the first visit to the EU by an Israeli prime minister in 22 years, said that the bloc would continue to recognize the “international consensus” on Jerusalem.
She repeated the EU’s commitment to a two-state solution and that it was in Israel’s interest to find a sustainable solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.
The EU would step up its peace efforts and would hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next month, she said.
She also condemned attacks on Israel and on Jews elsewhere in the world, including in Europe.
Trump’s plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said could damage peace efforts, has prompted sometimes violent protests.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he would fight against the controversial declaration, describing Israel as a “terrorist state.”
“Palestine is an innocent victim... As for Israel, it is a terrorist state. Yes, terrorist,” Erdogan said in a speech in the central Turkish city of Sivas. “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.”
Netanyahu was quick to counter the assault when he spoke later that day during a news conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron.
“I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people,” he said. “That is not the man who is going to lecture us.”
The Israeli prime minister yesterday stressed his country’s partnership with Europe, saying that its intelligence cooperation had helped prevent militant attacks, while its security role in the Middle East had curbed the Islamic State group’s expansion in the region.
He also highlighted Israel’s economic contribution in new technologies.
Mogherini said the EU and Israel were “friends and partners.”
Additional reporting by AFP
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