BRUSSELS, Belgium – European Union leaders on Thursday, December 14, rejected US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying they stuck by their view that the city's status should be settled by negotiation.
Trump's administration invited widespread criticism earlier this month when it officially recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, effectively ignoring Palestinian claims on the city.
"EU leaders reiterate firm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged," EU President Donald Tusk tweeted after the leaders of the bloc's 28 countries discussed the matter at a summit in Brussels.
EU leaders reiterate firm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged. — Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) December 14, 2017
The EU has voiced alarm at the US decision, with foreign policy head Federica Mogherini warning last week that it could take the situation "backwards to even darker times".
But Thursday's statement by the bloc's heads of state and government adds fresh weight to the criticism of Trump's move, which upended 7 decades of US policy on Jerusalem and triggered protests across the Islamic world.
The EU has long maintained that the only way to peace is two states – Israel and Palestine – with Jerusalem as the capital of both and the borders returned to their status before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earned a stern rebuff from Mogherini in Brussels on Monday, December 11, when he suggested Europe would follow Washington's lead on Jerusalem.
Mogherini told him in forthright terms to "keep his expectations for others". – Rappler.com