France condemns Israeli homes plan
France on Tuesday condemned the Israeli government's announcement that homes for 1,100 settlers will be built in east Jerusalem, saying the move "appears like a provocation".
Israel earlier revealed the construction plans for the settlement of Gilo, a move Palestinians slammed as a rejection of a proposal by the so called Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and United States -- for new peace talks.
"France condemns the Israeli authorities' approval for the planned construction of 1,100 homes in the east Jerusalem settlement of Gilo," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"The decision is counterproductive at a time when the international community is multiplying its efforts with a view to resuming peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
"The announcement, which comes the day after a statement by the Quartet ... appears like a provocation.
"France calls on Israel to reconsider its decision and refrain from any act which could hinder the efforts of the international community with a view to resuming negotiations."
The statement concluded: "Colonisation, on the West Bank as in east Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, undermines trust between the parties and poses a serious threat to the two-state solution," the foreign ministry said.
The Quartet proposed a resumption of talks after the Palestinian formally requested admission to the United Nations as a full member state, a step intensely opposed by Israel and its closest ally, the United States.
© 2011 AFP