In call with Jordanian king, France threatens extended sanctions on violent settlers

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech on Europe in an amphitheater of Sorbonne University in Paris, on April 25, 2024. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech on Europe in an amphitheater of Sorbonne University in Paris, on April 25, 2024. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP)

In a call with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, French President Emmanuel Macron says Paris is considering extending sanctions on Israeli settlers behind violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

The two leaders “firmly condemned recent Israeli announcements about settlements” in the West Bank, “which are contrary to international law,” Macron’s office says in a statement.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also serves as a minister in the Defense Ministry, is reportedly pushing to begin the process of legalizing 68 illegal outposts in the West Bank in what would be one of the most dramatic expansions for the settlement movement in decades.

Tensions have mounted in the West Bank since Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel that sparked the ongoing war in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority health ministry says that more than 480 West Bank Palestinians have been killed in that time.

In February, France announced sanctions against 28 Israelis who were accused of committing violent acts against Palestinians in the West Bank, banning them from French territory.

Macron and King Abdullah also spoke about the “catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza,” and expressed “great concern about the prospects of an Israeli offensive on Rafah, where more than 1.5 million people are seeking refuge, and reiterated their opposition to such an operation,” the statement says.

“The two also insisted on the necessity of an immediate and durable ceasefire to allow massive deliveries of urgent aid and the protection of civilian populations,” it adds.

Macron also “repeated that the liberation of hostages held by Hamas was an absolute priority for France.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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