Netanyahu met with EU’s Mogherini in Brussels following meeting with Macron in Paris; PM addresses global rejection of Jerusalem and US recognition, EU-Israel trade relations, Islamic terror and much more, Dec. 11, 2017.
Prime Minister Netanyahu met with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels on Monday, his meeting centered on EU-Israel trade and economic relations, the United States recognition of Jerusalem and the fight against Islamic terrorism.
His meeting with Mogherini followed a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron on Sunday, Macron, as will Moghernini, expressing the EU’s disapproval of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, claiming it harms the peace process.
Both leaders addressed the press following their meeting, Netanyahu beginning by addressing Islamic terror and Israel’s assistance to European states, “Europe and Israel are important partners in three main areas: in the area of security, in the area of prosperity, in the area of peace. In security, Israeli intelligence has prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, many of them on European soil, and I think countless lives have been saved as a result of this cooperation that is well known to the security services of many European governments.”
He addressed the common threat of radical Islam, the threats Iran places on the globe and threat of refugees in Europe from Middle Eastern states and Israel as an “important security function for the people of Europe”, reporting that Israel and the EU will “continue to do so as part of our common battle against terrorism. Equally, I think that the greatest problem facing Europe is the flow of people who are escaping the battle-torn areas in the Middle East, and the Middle East is under threat, both of ISIS, militant Islam of the Sunni variety, and militant Islam of the Shiite variety, led by Iran.”
Highlighting Israel’s strength, he affirmed that “Israel is the strongest power in the Middle East that is preventing the spread of militant Islam, not only preventing ISIS attacks in Europe, but also preventing the collapse of many parts of the Middle East adjacent to Israel that would otherwise be taken over by these militant Islamists, driving many, many, many millions into Europe… we do so to protect ourselves, but in so doing, I believe that Israel serves a very important security function for the people of Europe in ways that are not always understood, but increasingly are appreciated by the relevant governments.”
Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s innovation in the fields of IT, cyber security, agriculture and autonomous vehicle, and the benefits of EU-Israel trade and business relations, stating “the partnership between Israel and Europe is vital; in my opinion, it’s important not only for us—clearly it is, I wouldn’t be here otherwise—but I think it’s important for Europe. And many, many countries around the world understand that, that Israel is the partner for innovation, and innovation is the future.”
He then spoke of Israel’s natural gas fields, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Israel, Cyprus, Italy, Greece and the EU on the construction of the undersea gas pipeline, known as “East-Med” in November. The pipeline is proposed to be over 2,000 kilometers long and bring gas from Israel and Cyprus’s gas fields to Greece and Italy. The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2025 and is estimated to cost $6 billion. The prime minister stated Monday “We’ve also found gas… We’re actually exploring the laying of a gas pipeline from our offshore gas fields up to Italy. This would be, I think, very important for Europe’s economy in this way as well. Innovation, energy and every other way, we believe we are natural partners.”
On Jerusalem, the peace process and Palestinians, he stated “Israel has extended its hand to peace to our Palestinian neighbors for 100 years, well before there was a State of Israel and after it was established. And for 50 years, before there was a single settlement or a single issue of territory, we were being attacked constantly. We were attacked not because of this or that piece of territory, but of the idea of any territory, that there would be a Jewish state, a nation-state for the Jewish people in any boundary was rejected by our neighbors. This is what led to the conflict, and this is what continues the conflict. You see that in the continuous denial, unfortunately, by the Palestinians of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and the denial of our history.”
On Jerusalem’s history and UNESCO’s efforts to erase Jewish history at its religious sites in Israel he stated “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. 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. 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. 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.”
He called on the EU and PA to take advantage of the United States efforts in the peace process, Netanyahu calling on the Palestinians to “recognize the Jewish state”. He reiterated, “It’s always been about the Jewish state. And it’s time that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state and also recognize the fact that it has a capital. It’s called Jerusalem. I believe that even though we don’t have an agreement yet, this is what will happen in the future. 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.”
Mogherini, consistent with majority of European leaders, reported that the EU “believe that the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both, the state of Israel and the state of Palestine. This is our consolidated position and we’ll continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem.”
She announced that a meeting was scheduled with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in January.
Photo: Netanyahu and Mogherini in Brussels, Netanyahu Facebook page, 2017