CZECH PRESIDENT Milos Zeman welcomes President Reuven Rivlin at Prague Castle.
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)
“The European Union, cowards, are doing all they can so a pro-Palestinian terrorist movement can have supremacy over a pro-Israeli movement,” Zeman said, according to the AFP news agency.
He spoke Saturday at an event of the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy Party.
Zeman and the Czech Republic are known for their strong support of Israel. Immediately after Trump’s speech on Wednesday, the Czech Foreign Ministry announced its recognition of west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In September, Zeman also spoke of international cowardice regarding Israel and cited as an example the refusal by almost all the world’s nations to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or acknowledge Jerusalem as its capital.
He went even further during a speech in New York given at an event sponsored by the The Algemeiner
newspaper, in which he called for all embassies in Tel Aviv to be moved to Jerusalem.
“I proposed this removal [of our embassy from Tel Aviv] four years ago during my visit to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told me if [we did] so, ‘I will give you my own house.’ I hope his promise is still valid,” Zeman said.
“Anyway, now after the same promise of Donald Trump in the election campaign, I think it might be a good hint,” he said. “And this hint might be followed by some courageous countries, not all countries, but courageous countries. This is a concrete step toward real solidarity [with Israel] and not solidarity by words only.”
Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis called the Czech ambassador on Sunday to thank him for his country’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“You are a brave people who are not afraid to fight on our side for the truth. The Czech Republic is a true friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” he said.
To date, the Czech Republic has not made good on Zeman’s statement with regard to moving its embassy. But the Czech stance recognizing Jerusalem as the capital marks a break from the 27 other EU nations that do not recognize any part of the city, including its western section, as being under Israeli sovereignty.
Mogherini downplayed the significance of the Czech position and has issued a number of statements condemning Trump’s declaration and his intention to relocate the US Embassy.
“The statement done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic is definitely not an act of support to the United States’ administration decision,” she said on Friday.
“I spoke myself yesterday morning with the foreign minister of the Czech Republic,”Mogherini said. “He guaranteed to me that the Czech Republic stays firmly with the common European Union consolidated position on Jerusalem being the capital of the future state of Palestine, meaning two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both along 1967 lines, which is explicitly referred to in the statement by the Czech Foreign Ministry. And if I do not remember wrong, the statement also refers to the need to have negotiations.”
Mogherini is expected to speak with Netanyahu about the issue in Brussels on Monday when he meets with the 28 ministers of the EU.