France condemns Israeli settlement expansion

Published Thursday, June 7, 2012

France on Thursday condemned Israeli plans to expand a West Bank settlement by 300 homes and urged right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to follow through with their construction.

"We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abstain from implementing these plans. We recall that colonization in all its forms is illegal under international law, undermines the two-state solution at ground level and is an obstacle to peace," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

He urged Netanyahu to drop the plans "at a time when the most important thing is to avoid provocations and to renew dialogue between the parties."

Netanyahu vowed on Wednesday to build the 300 new settler homes in Beit El, after MPs voted down a bill which would have saved five buildings in one of its neighborhoods from demolition.

Direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians on a peace deal remain in deep freeze after grinding to a halt in late 2010 over the issue of settlement construction.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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