Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia to Hold Summit in Jerusalem

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shake hands after making joint statements at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel, July 19, 2018. - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban advocated 'zero tolerance' against anti-Semitism, at the start of his controversial visit to Israel.Orban …

Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, are set to hold the first overseas Visegrád summit in Jerusalem, Israel, this month.

Media reports that the event is supposed to take place between the 18th and 19th of February with the spokesmen for the governments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia confirming to Agence France-Presse that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini will be attending.

The last meeting between the central European countries’ four leaders and right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took place at the Visegrád summit in July 2017 in Budapest, Hungary, where Mr Netanyahu thanked Hungary for “standing up for Israel time and again.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently met with Mr Netanyahu during a highly-successful trip in July to Jerusalem, where the Israeli hailed the central European as a “true friend of Israel.”

The planned summit is likely to be seen by Brussels as a snub to official European Union policy, which rejects suggestions the bloc should recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and demands a “two-state solution” with an “independent” Palestine.

President Donald J. Trump made history when in December 2017 he announced the United States would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, and moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city in May 2018.

Shortly after President Trump’s announcement, the United Nations passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to withdraw its recognition, with Viségrad members Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, along with other eastern European nations Latvia, Croatia, and Romania, breaking ranks with Brussels and abstaining in the vote.

In May 2018, before the U.S. embassy had moved to Jerusalem, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania blocked an EU motion led by progressive French President Emmanuel Macron condemning President Trump. An EU source told Israeli media, “The Hungarians didn’t want to poke Trump in the eye and the Czechs and the Romanians are considering to move their embassies to Jerusalem against the EU position… This is the state of the EU these days.”

President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman had long been vocal about his support for Israel and his wish to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. In 2017, he condemned the EU for their Middle East policy, saying, “The European Union, cowards, are doing all they can so a pro-Palestinian terrorist movement can have supremacy over a pro-Israeli movement.”


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