President Trump should make a “symmetrical” diplomatic gesture to the Palestinians after his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the United Kingdom’s top diplomat suggested Monday.
“Jerusalem now having been recognized by the United States as the capital of Israel, one would expect some sort of symmetrical movement in the other direction to get things moving,” said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Johnson, speaking alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, didn’t specify the details of such a policy. But he indicated some step might be needed to kick-start the peace process.
“The world is really waiting to see with great interest what the United States is going to produce by way of a proposal on the Middle East peace process, and clearly, that decision feeds into that,” Johnson said.
Those comments came on a day full of symbolic maneuvering pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Vice President Pence, on a trip to Israel, informed the Knesset that the Trump team will move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, at least a year sooner than expected.
Simultaneously, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Brussels to request the European Union counter Trump’s announcement by giving diplomatic recognition to the Palestinian state.
“If the Europeans want to be a player, then they have to be fair in their treatment of both parties and this should start with the recognition of the state of Palestine,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said Sunday.
Such recognition was not on the table Monday, but the European Union’s top diplomat emphasized that the Palestinians deserve a share of Jerusalem as well. “I want to reassure President Abbas of the firm commitment of the European Union to the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states,” Federica Mogherini, the high representative for foreign affairs, said during a press conference.
Johnson was less specific. “It’s possible that it could help to push things along if there is symmetrical movement in the other direction, as I said,” he told reporters.