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Netanyahu fails to sell Trump Jerusalem recognition in Europe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) holds a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Council Federica Mogherini (R) at the European Council headquarters within the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium on 11 December 2017. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) holds a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Council Federica Mogherini (R) at the European Council headquarters within the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium on 11 December 2017. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

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

On Saturday, Netanyahu headed to France where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace. On Monday night, he flew to Brussels for a breakfast meeting with the 28 EU foreign ministers and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. However remarks issued by all EU officials indicated that Netanyahu has failed in his mission.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Macron said he had told Netanyahu that Trump’s statement on Jerusalem “is a threat to peace and we are against it”.

“We both want regional peace. France is committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, both living in peace,” Macron said, adding that he had asked Netanyahu to take a bold step and break the deadlock.

Read: From Shameless to shameful: Trump’s debacle on Jerusalem is also Obama’s failure

Speaking alongside Mogherini, Netanyahu told reporters yesterday that recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “doesn’t obviate peace, it makes peace possible, because recognising reality is the substance of peace, it’s the foundation of peace”.

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

However, Mogherini said the EU would continue to recognise the “international consensus” on Jerusalem.

“There is full EU unity on this, 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,” she said.

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