Pres Morales and SandellWashington, D.C., February 12th, 2018 – The European Coalition for Israel has met with US lawmakers and European diplomats in Washington to discuss how transatlantic cooperation in support for Israel could be strengthened. After the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel on December 6th, several European nations have distanced themselves from the US administration. But in the United Nations General Assembly vote on December 21st, a total of six EU-member states abstained in the vote as a clear protest against the biased policy of EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.

“The EU needs to acknowledge that the US recognition of Jerusalem is fully in line with the official position of the EU in recognizing west Jerusalem as the de-facto capital of the State of Israel. While demanding that east Jerusalem becomes the capital of a future Palestinian state, the EU must also acknowledge that west Jerusalem is already the capital of the Jewish state,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said in Washington.

The ECI position is that Jerusalem should remain united as the capital of the State of Israel in order to secure full rights and religious freedom to people of all faiths and none.

On Wednesday Sandell met briefly with the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, to thank him for his moral leadership and assured him that he is on the right side of history. Sandell said that ECI is committed to working together with those EU-member states that are willing to recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of the State of Israel.

In his speech on December 24th, President Morales recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and promised to move the Guatemalan embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While in Washington for the National Prayer Breakfast last week, President Morales met with US leaders who expressed their support for his decision. In a private meeting with President Donald Trump ahead of the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, they discussed bilateral issues as President Trump officially thanked President Morales for his support for the US move.

Guatemala was one of nine countries to support the US position in the United Nations General Assembly vote on December 21st while another 56 nations either abstained or did not turn up for the vote. Among these 65 nations were also seven European countries, namely Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In a separate meeting with a delegation of Israeli lawmakers in Washington last week, MK Robert Ilatov pointed out that the Israeli position has not changed. “Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for the last three thousand years”, he said in a briefing. “When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we pray for the wholeness and unity of Jerusalem. Just as the reunification of Berlin in 1989 was an expression of a historical truth, the same was true for Jerusalem fifty-one years ago when the city was reunited.”

The ECI delegation consisted of Gregory Lafitte, Faith Collins Childress and Tomas Sandell.