EU shuns call to recognise Jerusalem as Israeli capital

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini rejects Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels
Netanyahu said he expects all European countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem [Anadolu]

The European Union has rejected Benjamin Netanyahu‘s call to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying the two-state solution remains the only path to resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, met Netanyahu on Monday in Brussels, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to the European Union in 22 years.

The meeting came less than a week after the United States announced it would recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move its embassy to the city, a contentious move that has led to widespread condemnation and deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.

“You know where the European Union stands. We believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both the state of Israel and the state of Palestine along the 1967 line,” Mogherini said during a press conference with Netanyahu.

“This is our consolidated position and we will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem until the final status of the Holy City is resolved through direct negotiations between the parties,” she said.

The Israeli prime minister, meanwhile, reaffirmed his support for Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

“Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for the last 70 years. I think what President Trump has done is put facts squarely on the table,” Netanyahu said.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. No one can deny. It doesn’t obviate peace; it makes peace possible, because recognising reality is the substance of peace, it’s the foundation of it.”

New peace proposal

Netanyahu said the Trump administration is working to introduce “a new peace proposal” and called on countries to see what will be presented.

But the details of that plan appear to still be unclear.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister of France, said “some kind of American initiative” has been announced.

“We’ve been waiting for several months. If it’s not the case, then perhaps the European Union should take the initiative, but it’s too early to say,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

During the press conference, Netanyahu said he expects “all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem” and “recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital”.

But world leaders have roundly condemned US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Many European leaders have said the move risks enflaming tension in the wider region while hindering prospects of a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mogherini also rejected the idea that EU member states would move their embassies to Jerusalem, saying on Monday “this move will not come”.

Source: Al Jazeera