Yves Le Drian is one of the first senior French officials to use the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel.
The Israei foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi summoned the French ambassador, Eric Danon, to tell him that Le Drian’s comments were “unacceptable, unfounded and far from reality and Israel completely rejects them.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi this week summoned France’s ambassador to Israel for a dressing down over remarks made by French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian who warned of the risk of “long-lasting apartheid” in Israel in the event that the Palestinians fail to obtain their own state.
Le Drian was referring to Palestinians but also to the riots by Arab Israelis that erupted in several cities amid the conflict with Hamas. “It’s the first time and it clearly shows that if in the future we had a solution other than the two-state solution, we would have the ingredients of long-lasting apartheid,” the minister said in an interview with Le Figaro and RTL.
He is one of the first senior French officials to use the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel.
The Israei foreign ministry said Ashkenazi summoned the French ambassador, Eric Danon, to tell him that Le Drian’s comments were “unacceptable, unfounded and far from reality and Israel completely rejects them.
“Israel expects its friends to not make comments in an irresponsible manner that gives a boost to extremist entities and to anti-Israel activities,” Ashkenazi told the ambassador.
Ashkenazi also expressed concern at a recent rise in antisemitic incidents in France and stressed that he expects the French leadership to condemn the incidents as well as take action to stop them.
“Israel is a law-abiding democratic state and I strongly protest any attempt to challenge this fact and the foundations of the State of Israel,” Ashkenazi said in the statement.
“France demonstratively ignored all preventive measures taken by Israel to prevent the deterioration into conflict, and the Foreign Minister’s remarks give, in effect, a reward to extremists and terrorist organizations, led by the Hamas terrorist organization.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “a strong protest against the French government and the outrageous comments of the French foreign minister on television.”
He rejected the minister’s comments as “an insolent, false claim that has no basis. In the State of Israel, all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of their ethnicity. Israel is a beacon of democracy and human rights in our region… We will not suffer any hypocritical and false moral rebukes on this matter.”
Le Drian’s remarks followed other controversial statements made by French Prime Minister Jean Castex Clashes on the fighting between Israelis and Hamas, in which he never mentioned the launching of rockets from Gaza towards Israel.
Speaking in the French parliament, Castex recalled that France ‘’continually highlighted the risks linked to continuation of the settlements policy, especially the evictions in East Jerusalem, and has restated the need to strictly preserve the historical status quo at the city’s holy sites.’’
CRIF, the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, denounced Castex’s ‘’very biased’’ position. ‘’We are concerned about the very biased position expressed by Prime Minister. Not a word for the Israeli victims. No mention of the terrorist nature of Hamas. Nothing about the 3000 rockets sent to Israel. A clarification of this position is needed,’’ the Jewish group tweeted.