France: New Israeli settlements must be called off 'immediately'

'The decision by the Israeli authorities approving the construction of 200 new homes in the Ramot settlement again directly threatens a two-state solution,' said a French spokesman.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Labourers work on an apartment building under construction in a Jewish settlement known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim in an area of the West Bank that Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed to the city of Jerusalem, October 28.

France called on Israel to "immediately" reverse a decision to approve the building of 200 new homes in settlements in East Jerusalem, a move it said directly threatened a two-state peace solution.

"The decision by the Israeli authorities approving the construction of 200 new homes in the Ramot settlement again directly threatens a two-state solution," French Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said.

"We call Israel to immediately go back on this decision at a time when everything should be done to stop the escalation (in violence) and relaunch the peace process," Nadal said in an unusually strong statement.

The new housing is slated for a sprawling hillside complex of apartment buildings and private homes at the northern edge of Jerusalem, on land Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed to the city in a move never recognized internationally. Palestinians want this territory as part of a future state.

French lawmakers are set to hold symbolic parliamentary votes over the next month on whether the government should recognize Palestine as a state, a move likely to anger the Jewish state.

(Editing by Mark John)

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