Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “felt like a lion” as he met with EU leaders earlier this week, challenging them on settlements and told them to “stop spoiling the Palestinians”.
Netanyahu was in Brussels on Monday to meet with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy as well as the Foreign Ministers of the 28 member states of the European Union.
After his meeting with Mogherini, Netanyahu joined other EU leaders for a lunch meeting in Brussels.
During the gathering, Netanyahu criticized the EU for “spoiling” the PA, leading the PA to become uncooperative, and demanding unrealistic concessions from Israel.
“Stop spoiling the Palestinians, they’re spoiled and Trump told them the truth,” Netanyahu said, according to Channel 12.
“How many times did you ask [the PA] to recognize the Jewish state and to end its [anti-Israel] incitement? I’m prepared to look up the numbers,” Netanyahu continued.
Netanyahu countered claims by EU member states that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria were an obstacle to peace.
Despite being largely opposed by the EU leaders, Netanyahu explained afterwards that he “felt like a lion – I didn’t feel like I was in a lion’s den.”
“I also said that the heart of the conflict had nothing to do with the settlements. Repeating that over and over doesn’t make it true. The [Arab] opposition to Zionism preceded the settlements, and it is tied to the overall refusal to accept a Jewish state per se.”
“The settlements that the Palestinians are talking about really are Jaffa and Tel Aviv and Haifa. The time has come to stop spoiling the Palestinians.”
It is good to see that Netanyahu was ‘roaring’ in the chambers of the European Union, telling them something they needed to hear.
Prior to dining with EU leaders, Netanyahu gave a press conference alongside Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
“I think we should give peace a chance. I think we should see what is presented and see if we can advance this peace. But if we have to begin it, I would say it’s one place: recognise the Jewish state,” he said Monday morning in Brussels.
“It’s always been about the Jewish state. And it’s time that the Palestinians recognise the Jewish state and also recognise 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, recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and engage robustly with us for security, prosperity and peace.”
The prime minister praised President Donald Trump for recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying that Trump “put facts squarely on the table.”
Netanyahu said that Israel was attacked long before any settlements were built and long before there were territorial issues.
“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 neighbours,” he said. “This is what led to the conflict, and this is what continues the conflict.”
Netanyahu noted that Israeli intelligence has prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, many of them on European soil.
“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,” he said.
Following their meeting Federica Mogherini gave a following press meeting, showing that the 28 member states were all united in seeking a two-state solution and a divided Jerusalem, split between Israel and the Palestinians.