Brussels, MINA – European Union member states will not follow the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels, DPA reported.
Netanyahu, the first Israeli prime minister to visit the seat of the EU in 22 years, suggested during a meeting with EU foreign ministers that he expected others to follow US President Donald Trump’s controversial move last week to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Mogherini rejected the idea after meeting the premier.
“I know that Prime Minister Netanyahu mentioned a couple of times that he expects others to follow President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem – he can keep his expectations for others, because from the European Union member states’ side, this move will not come,” she told reporters.
Before the meeting, Netanyahu told reporters that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a statement that makes a solution to the Middle East conflict possible.
“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, no one can deny that,” Netanyahu said. “It doesn’t obviate peace – it makes peace possible, because recognizing reality is the substance of peace.”
“What President Trump has done is put facts squarely on the table,” Netanyahu added.
During the meeting, Netanyahu told the EU foreign ministers “to stop pampering the Palestinians,” he said in a video statement after the meeting.
“I think the Palestinians need to be taken back to reality,” he said. “Stop giving them all the slack we cut them. Because that’s the only way to we will move peace forward.”
He also noted that the US was working on a new peace proposal.
EU was keen on relaunching peace talks
Mogherini said it was time to relaunch peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, noting that the “only realistic solution” was based on recognizing two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both.
“The worst thing that can happen now is an escalation of tensions, of violence – first of all around the holy places, but also in the region and beyond,” Mogherini said.
Mogherini said the EU was keen on relaunching peace talks, noting, however, that the bloc did not want to initiate a separate process on its own.
“We’re not looking at multiplying initiatives,” she said.
The US cannot have the “illusion” that a “United States initiative alone would be successful,” Mogherini said.
“There is a need for an international and regional framework to accompany the beginning, hopefully, inshallah, of negotiations, which seem very far away at the moment,” she said.
She noted that EU foreign ministers will discuss the matter also with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is set to visit Brussels in January.
Alan Duncan, British minister of state for Europe and the Americas, said that Britain did “not agree” with Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital because the issue should be included in negotiations about the final status of the city.
“In particular, of course, Jerusalem is divided between east and west – and East Jerusalem is most certainly not part of Israel,” Duncan said.
Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital with the establishment of the state in 1948. However, the city remained divided between West Jerusalem, controlled by Israel, and East Jerusalem, controlled by Jordan.
In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel captured the eastern half of Jerusalem, now home to more than 300,000 Palestinians, and later annexed the territory in a move that was not internationally recognized.
Meanwhile Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned his criticism towards the US calling it a “partner in bloodshed” because of the Jerusalem move.
“We never accept this decision,” Erdogan said, speaking in Ankara.
The Turkish premier has planned an emergency meeting on Jerusalem by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to which he has invited Muslim leaders, on Wednesday in Istanbul.
In Israel, after a weekend of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, small clashes occurred on Monday along the Gaza-Israel border and the West Bank.
Three Gazans were injured in the clashes, Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Gaza Health Ministry said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)