Foreign Ministry defends France after Gallant’s ‘incorrect and inappropriate’ attack

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz, right, shakes hands with his French counterpart Stephane Sejourne as they pose for a picture before a meeting in Jerusalem, April 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz, right, shakes hands with his French counterpart Stephane Sejourne as they pose for a picture before a meeting in Jerusalem, April 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A rare public spat opens up between leading Israeli ministries, as senior Foreign Ministry officials denounce an attack on France by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

“We disapprove of Defense Minister Gallant’s attacks on France,” say the diplomats in a statement.

“Beyond the existing disagreements between Israel and France, the statements against France are incorrect and inappropriate,” they say.

Earlier today, Gallant rejected joining a trilateral framework proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron to defuse escalations on Israel’s northern border.

“As we fight a just war, defending our people, France has adopted hostile policies against Israel,” said Gallant. “In doing so, France ignores the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli children, women and men.”

French authorities last month banned Israeli defense firms from exhibiting at one of the world’s largest defense fairs.

The Foreign Ministry points out that France took “an active role” in defending Israel against Iran’s drone and missile attack in April.

“From the start of the war,” the diplomats say, “France has taken a clear line of denunciation and sanctions against Hamas, and takes an aggressive line in everything having to do with sanctions in the EU against Iran and its missile and drone project, and was a partner in the IAEA Board of Governors decision to advance a sanctions process against Iran’s nuclear program.”

The Foreign Ministry adds that French authorities are vigorously fighting antisemitism and protecting Jews there.

“The Foreign Ministry will continue to fight to protect Israel’s interests on the northern border with all the relevant players,” the diplomats finish pointedly.

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