The French government has condemned Israel's approval of plans to build new settlement units in the Har Homa settlement compound. The condemnation follows a similar reproach from Egypt as international awareness of illegal settlement expansion increases.
Israel's municipality in Jerusalem has issued licences to build 69 new housing units in Har Homa, which is built on Palestinian land at Jabal Abu-Ghneim. The decision flies in the face of international efforts, particularly by US Secretary of State John Kerry, to kick-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
"This decision is not legal from the point of view of international law," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Philip Lalio, "and it undermines credibility and weakens the chances of reaching a just and lasting solution for the conflict."
Lalio stressed that France supports all efforts aiming to launch new Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. "We also call for [the parties] to avoid all behaviour which could block the way of negotiations." He added that his country would like to see negotiations start soon "without preconditions".