EU rebuffs United State's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital during Netanyahu visit

EU rebuffs United State's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital during Netanyahu visit

EU rebuffs United State's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital during Netanyahu visit

Updated 12 December 2017, 6:15 AEDT

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urges the EU to follow US President Donald Trump's lead and recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but was met by a firm rebuff from EU foreign ministers who saw the move as a blow against the peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the European Union to follow US President Donald Trump's lead and recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"It makes peace possible because recognising reality is the substance of peace, the foundation of peace," said Mr Netanyahu as he was greeted by European Union foreign policy chief 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."

Ms Mogherini, welcoming Mr Netanyahu on the first visit to the EU by an Israeli premier in 22 years, said the bloc would continue to recognise the "international consensus" on Jerusalem.

She repeated the Union'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.

"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 Jersusalem as the capital of both the state of Israel and the state of Palestine, along the 67 line, this is our consolidated position," she said.

The EU, said Ms Mogherini, would step up its peace efforts and would hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next month.

She also condemned attacks on Israel and on Jews elsewhere in the world, including in Europe.

Ms Mogherini said the EU and Israel were "friends and partners".

But Israel's closest European allies such as the Czech Republic warned Mr Trump's decision was bad for peace efforts, while France insisted Jerusalem's status could only be agreed in a final deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Asked by reporters about Mr Trump's decision to switch the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said: "I'm afraid it can't help us."

Last week, the Czech foreign ministry said it would begin considering moving the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which many in Israel saw as an endorsement of Mr Trump's move.

But Prague later said it accepted Israel's sovereignty only over West Jerusalem.

EU foreign ministers reiterated the EU's position that the lands Israel has occupied since a 1967 war — including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights — are not part of the internationally recognised borders of Israel.

"I'm convinced that it is impossible to ease tension with a unilateral solution," Mr Zaoralek said as he and his counterparts arrived for a breakfast with Mr Netanyahu.

"We are talking about an Israeli state but at the same time we have to speak about a Palestinian state."

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that the United States had become a partner in bloodshed with its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"With their decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the United States has become a partner in this bloodshed," He said at an event in Ankara.

"The statement by President Trump does not bind us, nor does it bind Jerusalem."

Reuters