Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has warned US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital was a “threat to peace” as he hosted the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his first foreign trip since Donald Trump provoked widespread condemnation with the decision.
The joint appearance by the two men, following talks in Paris, came after tear gas was used to disperse protesters outside the US embassy in Beirut and a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli security guard at Jerusalem’s central bus station in the first attack in the city since Trump’s announcement.Palestinian media identified the assailant as 24-year-old Yasin Abu al-Qur’a from a village near Nablus in the northern West Bank, who reportedly posted on Facebook hours earlier mentioning Jerusalem. Police described as a terrorist attack.Trump last week declared the US would recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, breaking the international consensus on one of the most sensitive issues in relations between Israel and the Palestinians - who wish the capital of a future Palestinian state to be in the east of the city.Macron said he had told Netanyahu that Trump’s statement on Jerusalem “is a threat to peace and we are against it” and suggested that an Israeli freeze on settlement building would be an important gesture, showing Israel was committed to peace.In uncompromising remarks unlikely to calm the ongoing crisis, Netanyahu replied by saying that the sooner Palestinians recognised the reality that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, the sooner there would be peace.He also lashed out at the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying he would not “take lectures” from someone who bombs Kurdish villages, supports Iran and “terrorists” in Gaza.
Several rockets were fird from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Thursday and Friday following Trump’s declaration, leading Israel to respond with airstrikes that killed two people.Macron has been leading European criticism of the US decision and rang Trump before his announcement to warn him of the likely damaging consequences for the Palestinian peace process. Before Netanyahu’s visit, he and Erdoğan spoke by telephone about a joint diplomatic approach to try to persuade the US to row back on Jerusalem.He began his pre-prepared remarks alongside Netanyahu with a clear condemnation “of all forms of attacks in the last hours and days against Israel.”Source