Benjamin Netanyahu is travelling to the European continent to become the first Israeli prime minister to do so in more than two decades. Yet, all he can expect is a chilly reception in Paris and Brussels as his two-day visit comes against the backdrop of the US recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital – a decision which triggered sharp responses from the EU and its leaders.
Bracing for what is to come, Netanyahu made it clear he would be in no mood to listen to any lecture from European leaders blasting them for their "double standards" and "hypocrisy". Perhaps, Western European states were among the vocal critics of Trump's move outside the Arab world.
As he embarked on a plane to Paris, Netanyahu said: "I am taking off now to Paris and Brussels for meeting with the EU foreign minister. I will not accept a double standard from them."
"I hear voices condemning Trump [over Jerusalem] but not for rocket fire. I will not accept this hypocrisy. I will represent Israel with my head held high."
The Israeli premier will meet French President Emmanuel Macron – who called the Trump's decision "regrettable – on Sunday, 10 December and will talk to the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels on Monday.
Condemning Trump's decision, Mogherini had earlier said: "The announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in. This difficult moment calls for an even stronger engagement for peace."
The EU, for long, has been inclined to support Palestinians especially on the matter of Jerusalem. The continent has adopted the stance that East Jerusalem should be the capital of the state of Palestine in the future.
Yet, despite a series of condemnations from the European leaders, foreign ministers of EU member states have not issued any statement on the move, largely because Washington's move has found support from both Hungary and the Czech Republic, a strong ally of Israel.
Czech President Milos Zeman also did not mince words for throwing his support behind the Jerusalem move and lambasted EU leaders. "The European Union, cowards, are doing all they can so a pro-Palestinian terrorist movement can have supremacy over a pro-Israeli movement," said Zeman.