PARIS (Reuters) - 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.
(The story was refiled to Add the dropped words “homes in” in the first paragraph)
Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Mark John