Netanyahu Promotes Jerusalem as Israeli Capital in Europe

PM Netanyahu and Federica Mogherini. Photo courtesy of: Avi Ohayon (GPO).

The Untied States recently made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, took a visit to Europe as an opportunity to hint to the Western allies they should do the same. Netanyahu believes they’ll get there eventually.

“I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and engage robustly with us for security, prosperity and peace,” said Netanyahu in comments on Monday to European Union Foreign Ministers released by his office.

Netanyahu defended the decision of US President Donald Trump and argued that the recognition of Jerusalem is in fact essential to any peace deal with the Palestinians.

He noted that Trump’s Administration is working on a new peace deal, which Netanyahu said should be reviewed “and see if we can advance this peace.”

“But if we have to begin it, I would say it’s one place: recognize the Jewish state… It’s time that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state and also recognize the fact that it has a capital. It’s called Jerusalem.”

The European Union last week expressed “serious concern” about Trump’s Jerusalem decision in a statement issued by EU High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. The comments, posted to the official EU External Action website, noted that Europe would continue their position of not holding their embassies in Israel in Jerusalem until the status of the capital city is resolved in peace talks.

Trump, when he announced that the US would move their embassy, argued against concerns that doing so would endanger the peace process by pointing out that the world’s position on not doing so hadn’t brought peace yet either.

In his press conference with Mogherini, Netanyahu didn’t focus on Europe’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but did take the opportunity to slam United Nations decisions that have challenged Israel’s link to their capital city. In so doing, Netanyahu pointed to history as his support.

“For 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people, from the time… established by King David, well documented in the history of the Bible and the aftermath, when Jews in the ghettos of Europe whispered, “Next year in Jerusalem, next year in Jerusalem.” We never lost that connection,” said Netanyahu on Monday.

“Yet that connection is denied in UN forums, in UNESCO, in laughable decisions that seek to deny history and seek to deny historical truth. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for the last 70 years.”

While Europe has been troubled by Trump’s move and its implications for the dormant peace process, Netanyahu believes it actually move’s peace forward.

“I think what President Trump has done is put facts squarely on the table. Peace is based on reality. Peace is based on recognizing reality, and I think the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital is clearly evident to all of you who visit Israel see where the seat of our parliament, our Knesset is, the seat of our government, my office, the President’s office, the Supreme Court. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” said Netanyahu. “No one can deny. It doesn’t obviate peace; it makes peace possible, because recognizing reality is the substance of peace, it’s the foundation of it.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, December 11, 2017)


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