'Trump has made peace possible with his J'lm declaration'

Netanyahu urges EU leaders to let Israel 'give peace a chance' with President Trump's new approach.

David Rosenberg , | updated: 2:23 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu with Federica Mogherini
Binyamin Netanyahu with Federica Mogherini

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with European Union leaders in Brussels Monday, the first state trip to the Belgian capital by a sitting Israeli head of state in more than two decades.

The meeting comes days after President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and announced that the US would relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump’s historic move drew criticism from European allies, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who urged Trump not to deviate from past American policy vis-à-vis the holy city.

On Sunday, Netanyhau met with Macron in Paris, and called on world leaders to follow President Trump’s lead in recognizing Israel’s capital city, while denouncing efforts within the United Nations to erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

“There is an effort, continually, in UN forums – UNESCO, and elsewhere – to deny the millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. And that’s absurd,” said Netanyahu.

"You can read it in a very fine book - it's called the Bible," Netanyahu continued. "You can read it after the Bible. You can hear it in the history of Jewish communities throughout our diaspora – ‘Next year in Jerusalem’,” continued Netanyahu, referencing a phrase from the Passover Seder.

“Where else is the capital of Israel, but in Jerusalem? Where is our Knesset – our parliament? Where is our supreme court? The seat of our government? The Prime Minister’s Office? The President’s Office? It’s not in Beer Sheva, it’s not in Ashdod – these are wonderful cities, but it’s in Jerusalem.”

Macron, on the other hand, urged the Israeli premier to restrict the growth of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and to “show courage” in offering goodwill gestures to the Palestinian Authority in the hopes of rebooting final status talks, moribund since 2014.

"I urged the prime minister to show courage in his dealings with the Palestinians to get us out of the current dead-end," Macron said.

On Monday, Netanyahu met with EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini, and reiterated his support for President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, calling it a necessary step if peace is ever to be achieved between Israel and the Arab world.

Trump’s announcement “doesn’t obviate the [need for] peace,” said Netanyahu, “it makes peace possible,” by putting the “facts squarely on the table,” regarding the status of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has served as the capital of the State of Israel since 1950, after the Knesset was relocated from Tel Aviv. The Israeli parliament, supreme court, Prime Minister’s Office, and President’s Office are all located in Jerusalem, Israeli leaders have noted, and Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital is a decades-old “reality” the Israeli premier says the Palestinian Authority must recognize if peace is ever to be achieved.

"It doesn't obviate peace, it makes peace possible, because recognizing reality is the substance of peace, it's the foundation of peace," Netanyahu said during a joint press conference with Mogherini.

"There is now an effort under way to bring forward a new peace proposal by the American administration. I think we should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace," Netanyahu continued.