France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Jerusalem would forever be Israel’s undivided capital.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, a city reunified so as never again to be divided,” Netanyahu said on Thursday at a ceremony to mark Jerusalem Day in the city’s Mercaz Harav yeshiva.
Our people’s unparalleled affinity to Jerusalem has spanned thousands of years, and is at the basis of our national renaissance. It has united our people, secular and religious people alike.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Frederic Desagneaux said Friday, “The declaration made by the Israeli prime minister yesterday in Jerusalem prejudices the final status agreement,” according to AFP.
Desagneaux also said the “Middle East road map” to peace calls on both parties to negotiate an agreement on Jerusalem.
“In France’s eyes, Jerusalem should, within the framework of a negotiated peace deal, become the capital of two states,” he said, adding that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had told Israeli lawmakers this in a speech last year.
“Actions such as the destruction of Palestinian homes or the transformation of Arab districts risk provoking an escalation in violence. They are unacceptable and contrary to international law,” Desagneaux said.
“In broad terms, France condemns the ongoing settlement, including in East Jerusalem. We reiterate the need for a freeze on colonization activities, including those linked to natural population growth,” he added.
Netanyahu said he had made the same declaration during his recent visit to Washington, where he met with United States President Barack Obama over the peace process and Iran’s nuclear program.
“Only under Israeli sovereignty will united Jerusalem ensure the freedom of religion and freedom of access for the three religions to the holy places,” he said.