New EU ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret spoke with journalists today about the US embassy transfer to Jerusalem in a week.

"On the issue of Jerusalem, the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is strong and can't be denied; it's an historical matter of many generations. It's a key point," noted Giaufret.

"We also know Jerusalem is important for all religions and for the Palestinians, and therefore the position of the European Union is we need to reach an agreement through negotiations," he said.

In response to a question Giaufret said the EU delegation would not participate in the US embassy inauguration in Jerusalem. "We didn't receive an invitation. If we do, we'll consider it. But we should be consistent in our position. To celebrate that someone's doing something we oppose seems to me contrary to our consistent position." He added that to a certain extent, if the European Union were to participate in the event, it would broadcast an element of support for the embassy transfer.

President Reuven Rivlin meets with EU ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret
President Reuven Rivlin meets with EU ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufretצילום: Flash 90

The ambassador referred to Abbas' speech that caused a stir because of the anti-Semitic theme of his remarks: "These words are unacceptable. Words that contradict the negotiations and the desire for a solution, and this helps those who oppose peace. The Holocaust and World War II were formative events for us, and we can't accept such a statement. This undermines the attempt to negotiate. We still think that the two-state solution is the right solution. We don't support it ideologically, but view it as the only solution that exists.

"I want to say clearly, we don't think it's easy and simple. We understand how hard it is to achieve peace. To achieve both sides agreeing on peace isn't something the US or Europe can impose on the parties. Europe has strong ties with Israel in many areas; advancing political negotiations is only one, there are many more, and this is a very strong connection."

The ambassador was asked about EU support for Israeli NGOs, most of them left-wing organizations: "How do you explain that 'EU-funded' is a negative statement in Israel?" In response, the ambassador said, "I don't feel that way; we have cooperation with the Environment Ministry, cooperation with the Justice Ministry, and in the general picture there's extensive cooperation between Israel and the European Union."

Referring to the Iranian threat, Ambassador Giaufret said "the nuclear agreement isn't perfect; it has problems, but it creates good conditions for the region. We understand the threat and the danger, and we oppose any challenge to Israel's right to exist.

"The agreement's been discussed for many years and it's creating unity in the international community," the ambassador noted, "that achieves an important thing, and this is a united front, but the agreement doesn't achieve all the goals, but it relates directly to the military aspect of the issue. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is being conducted according to the rules of the agreement."

Regarding the materials revealed by the Prime Minister, Giaufret said "we need to examine it closely, but nothing we've seen shows that Iran's broken the agreement since it started in 2015. It shows that we need an agreement; when there's no trust, we need a monitoring system," he said.