Netanyahu is headed to meet with European leaders, where he will likely face hostility over Trump’s historic Jerusalem declaration.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Paris Sunday morning for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. From there he will leave for Brussels to visit the European Union (EU) headquarters – the first Israeli premier to do so in 22 years.
Before taking off Saturday night, Netanyahu said that while he ascribes “great importance to Europe” and respects it, he is “not prepared to accept a double standard from it.”
“I hear voices from there condemning President Trump’s historic statement, but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it,” he continued.
Netanyahu was referring to Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the European reaction that mostly condemned the declaration, and the ensuing Palestinian violence and terrorism following the president’s declaration, which included rocket fire from Gaza on the Israeli city of Sderot over the weekend.
Israeli leader will keep ‘head held high’
“I am not prepared to accept this hypocrisy, and as usual, at this important forum I will present Israel’s truth without fear and with head held high,” Netanyahu stated.
On Thursday, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini over her statement that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital may “return us to dark days.”
“Insisting on denying Jerusalem is Israel’s capital is disavowing an indisputable historical fact. Any denial of this simple truth distances peace by creating expectations detached from reality” among the Palestinians,” the ministry said.
Furthermore, “President Trump has taken a courageous, righteous step that increases the chances of peace by speaking the truth.”
Netanyahu is expected to meet with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers at an informal breakfast prior to their monthly meeting on an invitation by Lithuania. No sitting Israeli prime minister has ever addressed a formal EU body. In 1995, Shimon Peres, who was foreign minister and served as acting prime minister, visited Brussels.
While Jerusalem had hoped that Netanyahu’s trip to Europe would focus on the nuclear deal with Iran and its growing threat to the region, Trump’s announcement last week has shifted the focus of the visit to the failed diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Commenting on this sticking point, Netanyahu said at the World Economic Forum in January 2016 that a number of Arab nations had a more realistic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than many EU countries.