EU rules out Israeli PM’s call on Jerusalem

Monitoring Desk

ISTANBUL: The EU’s foreign policy chief on Monday ruled out a call by Israel’s prime minister for European states to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

“We believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israeli and Palestine is based on two-states,” Federica Mogherini said in a news briefing with Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels.

Mogherini also said that Jerusalem must be recognized as the capital of both states, Israel and Palestine, along the 1967 lines.

The Israeli prime minister said he expected all European countries will soon recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving their embassies to the city.

However, Mogherini insisted that the EU will respect the status of the city under international law and will not change its position until a final deal is achieved via direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Brussels is hosting a meeting of foreign affairs ministers, known as the Foreign Affairs Council, which will discuss the situation in Iraq, the latest developments in the Middle East and defense cooperation. The meeting is seen as a preliminary meeting of the European Council of Dec. 14-15.

The Israeli premier participated in a working breakfast with EU officials and foreign ministers ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters marked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to meet EU officials on Monday.

A 200-strong demonstration gathered outside EU offices in Brussel’s Schuman Square with Palestinian flags and banners backing a boycott on Israel and condemning Israeli “war crimes”.

Netanyahu’s visit came in the wake of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.