LONDON – Emboldened by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Benjamin Netanyahu paid the first visit to the European Union headquarters by an Israeli prime minister in 22 years on Monday to seek similar endorsement from the 28-nation bloc.
The answer, though, was clear: no.
The bloc’s members are not unified in their attitudes toward Israel, but the E.U.’s official position is that it supports what Federica Mogherini, its foreign policy chief, called the “international consensus” from which Trump departed last week when he announced a reversal of decades of U.S. diplomacy.
The E.U., she said, remains committed to a two-state settlement for the Israelis and the Palestinians, with “Jerusalem as the capital of both.” The bloc is the biggest provider of aid to the Palestinians.
Both Netanyahu and European officials referred to White House plans to begin a new peace effort in the Middle East that is being led by Trump’s advisers. Netanyahu also expressed optimism that other countries would follow the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem.
“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,” Netanyahu said.
Among E.U. members, several smaller countries favor a closer bond with Israel. Last week, the Czech Republic said it would consider moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but then seemed to retreat, saying it accepted Israel’s sovereignty over only the western part of Jerusalem.