Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told European Union Foreign Ministers in Brussels that Palestinian rejectionism, not the status of Jerusalem or settlement construction, were at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Monday.
On the first visit to Brussels by an Israeli Prime Minister since 1995, Netanyahu told EU Foreign Ministers it was time to challenge assumptions about the Middle East such as the idea that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the heart of the conflict in the Middle East”. He confirmed afterwards that he had “asked the Foreign Ministers to address the root of the conflict, which is rejectionism toward recognising the State of Israel. The opposition to Zionism started before there were settlements and is related to the refusal to recognise the Jewish state”.
Referring to United States President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Prime Minister said the city “has been the capital of Israel for the last 70 years”. “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,” he continued.
The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini confirmed that “the EU will increase its work together with our international friends and partners but also with friends and partners in the region, starting from Egypt and Jordan, and obviously with the parties – Israel and Palestine – to start to relaunch the peace process.”
Netanyahu also spoke about Israel’s cooperation with the EU, particularly in counter-terrorism and cyber security. He said, “Israeli intelligence has prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, many of them on European soil.”
“You need cyber security; Israel is a world partner. Therefore, the partnership between Israel and Europe is vital,” he added.