During a visit to Brussels on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored the European Union to follow President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“For 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people [and for 70 years] it has the capital of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “I think what President Trump has down is put facts squarely on the table.”
He continued: “No one can deny it. It doesn’t obviate peace, it makes peace possible, because recognizing reality if the substance of peace, the foundation of peace … I think we should give peace a chance: Recognize the Jewish state.”
Watch: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks during joint statements with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, at the start of his meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the European Union in Brussels. pic.twitter.com/ZjsumzFBRQ
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) December 11, 2017
Netanyahu predicted that in the future, European countries will acknowledge the Jewish state and move their embassies to Jerusalem.
Regarding hostility from Palestine, Netanyahu said that “Israel has extended its hand to peace to our Palestinian neighbors for 100 years. We were being attacked constantly . . . You see that in the continuous denial by the Palestinians of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and the denial of our history.”
Netanyahu added that Israeli intelligence has “prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, many of them on European soil, and countless lives have been saved as a result of this cooperation.”
The occasion marked Netanyahu’s first visit to EU headquarters in the Belgian capital. At a news conference, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the situation as historic, adding that “we visit often as friends and partners.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: @POTUS Trump, thank you for today's historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful. pic.twitter.com/Z24lSRezYm
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) December 6, 2017
She clarified the EU’s stance: “The only realistic solution to the conflicts between Israel and Palestine is based on two states, with Jerusalem as the capital of both . . . this is our conciliated position and we will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem.”
The Independent reported that, during a meeting in Paris on Sunday, Netanyahu told French President Emmanuel Macron, “Paris is the capital of France, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel – it has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and the capital of the Jewish state for 70 years.”
Netanyahu added: “We respect your history and choices and we know that France will respect ours. I think this is essential for peace, what peace requires is to be built on a foundation of truth, on the facts of the past and the present. This is the only way you can be realistic and build a successful future.”
Netanyahu also responded to remarks that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan made Sunday, calling Israel and “invader state” and a “terror state.”
“I‘m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, helps Iran go around international sanctions and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people,” Netanyahu said.
Following a meeting between Netanyahu and EU foreign ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallstrom said she doubted Netanyahu’s claim that European nations would follow U.S. in relocating embassies.
“I have a hard time seeing that any other country would do that and I don’t think any other EU country will do it,” Wallstrom said.