French President Emmanuel Macron called Sunday for a resumption of long-stalled Middle East peace talks based on a two-state solution.
“France is ready to support all diplomatic efforts towards this end within the parameters of peace recognized by the international community,” Macron said after talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He said Israelis and Palestinians should be able “to live side by side within secure and recognized borders with Jerusalem as the capital.”
Stressing that international law should be “respected by all,” Macron said he was referring to Israel’s “continued building of settlements” in the West Bank, a policy opposed by France.
“I hope everything will be done for negotiations to move forward,” he said as he and Netanyahu made joint statements to the press.
Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since the failure of the last round of negotiations in the spring of 2014.
Macron also assured Netanyahu of his “vigilance” regarding the 2015 nuclear accord reached by Western powers with Iran.
Netanyahu “expressed his concerns regarding the Iranian regime,” Macron told reporters with Netanyahu at his side. “I assured him of our vigilance, in particular over the strict implementation of the accord… in all its provisions.”
Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the deal, which saw sanctions against Iran eased in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The French presidency said Sunday’s meeting, the first official talks between Macron and Netanyahu, would be an occasion to “signal our lack of complacency towards Iran.”
Israel was rattled last month when Tehran launched fired six missiles from western Iran targeting bases of the Islamic State terror group in retaliation for attacks in Tehran that killed 17 people in the first IS-claimed operations in the country.
Netanyahu has repeatedly said Iran is a threat to the Jewish state, the Middle East and potentially the world. The regime in Iran relentlessly calls for Israel’s destruction.
Also on Sunday, Macron condemned anti-Zionism as a new form of anti-Semitism, in what observers said was an unprecedented statement from the leader of France in support of the Jewish state.
“We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism,” Macron said at an event in Paris marking the mass deportation of French Jews during World War II. He was directly addressing Netanyahu, who attended the event.
During a lengthy and introspective speech commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup, a mass arrest of 13,152 French Jews in July 1942 that was part of the Nazi effort to eradicate the Jews of France, Macron forcefully denounced Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
Like several of his predecessors, Macron accepted France’s responsibility for the deportations, admitting that the Vichy regime actively organized them. “It is indeed France that organized” the roundup, Macron said. “Not a single German” took part, he added.
“Time does its work,” the president said. “Archives open (and) the truth comes out. It’s stark, irrevocable. It imposes itself on us all.”
In 1995, then-president Jacques Chirac was the first French leader to admit his nation was guilty of having assisted in the mass murder of Jews.
Fewer than 100 of those who were detained at the so-called Vel d’Hiv and then sent to the Nazi death camps survived.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.