The Israeli Foreign Ministry has rejected France’s criticism of the decision to construct hundreds of illegal settlement units in Occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli government maintains that it has the right to build in what it alone regards as the “unified capital” of Israel; construction work has been and still is ongoing in the city. This comes at a time of tense relations between Tel Aviv and Paris after the French Consul in Gaza was injured and follows President Sarkozy’s description of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as “a liar”.
France condemns the Israeli decision to build 800 new housing units in Jerusalem. A French Foreign Ministry spokesperson described the decision as another provocation on the Israeli government’s part at a time when the international community is trying to restart negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the French spokesman said that the settlements are contrary to international law and constitute an obstacle to a just and lasting peace in the context of which Jerusalem would be the capital of two states, living side by side.
Meanwhile, the French authorities have summoned the Israeli ambassador in Paris to protest about the injuring of the French Consul and several members of his family during a raid by Israeli aircraft on the Gaza Strip on Monday, 14 November.
The French consul in Gaza, Magdi Jameel Yassin Shaqqura, 44, has confirmed that he and his two children were hit by shrapnel in their residence during Israel’s raid on a Palestinian Marine Police base in Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza City. The consul’s wife suffered a miscarriage in the aftermath of the bomb attack.