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Thursday, December 29, 2011

France condemns Israel's settlement plans

Published yesterday 21:20
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- France on Thursday condemned Israel's decision to expand Gilo settlement and build a tourism center in East Jerusalem.

Jerusalem municipality on Wednesday approved 130 new settler homes in Gilo and a tourism complex in Silwan, a flashpoint Palestinian neighborhood.

France said it was "deeply concerned" by the announcements, which it described as "provocative" in a statement from its consulate in Jerusalem.

"France also condemns the agreement concluded by the Israeli government to retroactively legalize the outpost of Ramat Gilad in the northern West Bank. All outposts must be dismantled, as Israel pledged to do so under the 2003 roadmap," the statement added.

Israel on Wednesday agreed to legalize the Ramat Gilad outpost near Qalqiliya.

Noting that all settlement activities are illegal under international law, France urged Israel to abandon the projects "in order to establish between the parties a climate of trust that is conducive to the resumption of direct negotiations."

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