Israel summons French envoy over call for Temple Mount observers
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Israel summons French envoy over call for Temple Mount observers

Netanyahu rejected out of hand a Paris suggestion to deploy international monitors at Jerusalem holy site

French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)
French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned France’s ambassador Patrick Maisonnave for a Monday morning meeting, French and Israeli diplomatic sources said, over the Paris proposal to deploy international observers to the flashpoint Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Maisonnave was expected to meet at at 10:30 a.m. with the head of the ministry’s Division for International Organizations, Ronny Leshno-Yaar, and the deputy director-general of the Europe Division, Aviv Shir-On.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the plan out of hand, calling it a fundamentally absurd proposal. France submitted a draft proposal on the issue to the UN Security Council on Friday evening.

The site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, is seen a key factor in the recent escalation of violence. The Palestinians claim that Israel is seeking to change the status at the site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is the site of the Jewish temples, a claim that Israel strenuously denies.

The prime minister on Sunday reiterated his rejection of the proposal, saying Israel is “not the problem” at the volatile Jerusalem shrine, but rather “the solution” there.

“Israel cannot accept the French draft at the [UN] Security Council. It doesn’t mention Palestinian incitement, it doesn’t mention Palestinian terrorism, and it calls for the internationalization of the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting.

The French proposal “calls for the internationalization of the holy places in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “Well, we’ve seen across the Middle East – in Palmyra, in Iraq, throughout Iraq and elsewhere — how militant Muslims blast each other’s mosques sky-high. We’ve just seen it in a Jewish holy site, Joseph’s Tomb. Only Israel, Israel alone, is the guarantor of the holy sites on the Temple Mount.”

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report

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