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US move is ‘threat to peace’: Macron tells Netanyahu

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on July 16, 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on July 16, 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a “threat to peace”.

In a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris, Macron began his speech by condemning “all the attacks in the last few hours and days” against Israel.

Macron said he had told Netanyahu that the US President Donald Trump’s statement on Jerusalem is a “threat to peace” and “we are against it”.

“I urged the prime minister to show courage in his dealings with the Palestinians to get us out of the current dead-end,” the French president said.

“Give peace a chance,” Macron said, further explaining that he was suggesting freezing settlement projects and taking precautions to win the trust of Palestinian authorities.

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Netanyahu opened his speech with disagreement with Macron, saying: “Paris is the capital of France; Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and of the Jewish state for 70 years.”

The Israeli premier claimed moving towards peace would only be possible when Palestinians accept that “Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish people and not the capital of any other nation”.

Netanyahu also said he and Macron agreed that they “must stop the main source of unrest in the Middle East, which is Iran”.

He said: “Iran is attempting to set up land, air and naval bases in Syria to fight and destroy Israel. We will not tolerate it.”

Despite widespread international opposition, the US president on Wednesday announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

According to Trump, the US State Department has been told to begin preparations for the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy sparked demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and other Muslim countries.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — now occupied by Israel — might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

US embassy might be moved to Jerusalem – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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