Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today he would ask Italy to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state, obtaining immediate support from Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, Reuters reported.
Netanyahu, who is facing protests at home against his government's plan to overhaul the Israeli judiciary, arrives in Italy today for a three-day visit. He will meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday.
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"I believe the time has come for Rome to recognise Jerusalem as the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for three thousand years, as the United States did with a gesture of great friendship," Netanyahu said in an interview with Italy's la Repubblica newspaper.
Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital but it is not recognised as such by the international community and its status under international law is disputed pending a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Salvini, who leads the rightist ruling League Party, immediately backed Netanyahu's call. "I firmly say YES to Jerusalem capital of Israel, in the name of peace, history and truth," he posted on Twitter.
In an interview with Reuters in August last year, before she became prime minister, Meloni said she had no plans to follow the US decision to shift its embassy to Jerusalem.
"It is a diplomatic matter and should be evaluated together with the Foreign Ministry," Meloni said.
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