Czech President Accuses 'Cowardly' EU of pro-Palestinian Bias Over Trump's Embassy Move

Zeman welcomes U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calls on Czech government to do the same

A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah December 9, 2017.
Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

Czech President Milos Zeman has accused the European Union of pro-Palestinian bias in the Middle East conflict and called the alliance "cowardly" in regard to the U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The cowardly European Union does everything so that the pro-Palestinian terror movement is dominant in relation to the pro-Israeli movement that I represent," Zeman was reported by the CTK news agency to have said on Saturday.

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He specifically criticized the late-September appearance of Palestinian plane hijacker Leila Khaled in the EU Parliament.

Zeman welcomed the decision by the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and he called on the Czech government to do the same. As president however, Zeman has only ceremonial functions. The new Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has already rejected such a move.

"We are not a great power that should solve this problem," said Babis, adding that although Israel was a close ally, the step by US President Donald Trump would only deepen the conflict in the region.

"There will be further deaths, there will be further attacks," Babis warned.

The Czech Republic recognizes west Jerusalem within the 1967 borders as the "de facto" capital of Israel, a government spokesman told dpa last week. The Czech embassy however remains in Tel Aviv. In addition, there is a Palestinian embassy in Prague.