Netanyahu challenges the EU over Jerusalem

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has insisted that the EU would continue to recognise the “international consensus” on Jerusalem while stressing the bloc’s commitment to a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Standing alongside Benjamin Netanyahu – whose visit to the EU was the first in 22 years by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister – Mogherini said today she believed that “the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both”.

During her comments at the headquarters of the European Union, Mogherini signalled EU intention to increase its peace efforts and hold talks with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, next month.

It’s nearly a week since Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. His decision, which undermines global consensus and violates international law, was denounced by world leaders. Shockwaves from the decision have continued with British Minister of State for Europe, Alan Duncan, joining the chorus of condemnations.

OPINION: The EU already recognises Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, just more quietly than Trump

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, the Conservative MP who had been targeted by Israeli lobbyists in a plot to take him down, rejected Trump’s announcement. “Jerusalem,” said Duncan, “is divided between East and West and East Jerusalem is certainly not part of Israel”.

Jubilant Netanyahu, however, publicly challenged the EU position predicting that most European countries would fall in line and move their embassies to Jerusalem and recognise it as Israel’s capital.