France on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a decision to build 300 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, Israel Radio reported.
“We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abstain from implementing these plans,” French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero said. “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.”
Netanyahu’s announcement on Wednesday came on the heels of a Knesset decision to demolish five buildings in the illegal outpost of Givat Ulpana, adjacent to Beit El, despite vocal protestations from the settlers and their supporters in the Knesset.
Valero lamented the timing of the decision, “when the most important thing is to avoid provocations and to renew dialogue between the parties.” He prompted Netanyahu to reconsider.
After Wednesday’s Knesset vote, Netanyahu emphasized that “Israel is a democracy that upholds the law.”
“As prime minister,” he said, “I am obligated to uphold the law and preserve the settlements, and I say here that there is no contradiction between the two.”