French stance on Israel 'encouraginganti-Semitic attacks': Sharon aide

22nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

JERUSALEM, July 22 (AFP) - France's "systematically" hostile attitude towards Israel could encourage extremists to carry out anti-Semitic attacks, a source close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday.

JERUSALEM, July 22 (AFP) - France's "systematically" hostile attitude towards Israel could encourage extremists to carry out anti-Semitic attacks, a source close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday.

Relations have plummetted in recent days after Sharon infuriated Paris with a call for all French Jews to leave the country immediately while the Israelis in turn held France as chiefly responsible for an EU decision to vote en masse for a UN resolution condemning the West Bank barrier.

Sharon's aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, praised Chirac's government for trying to tackle a growth in anti-Semitism.

"But on the other hand, it is also adopting a systematically anti-Israeli stance which could be perhaps be interpreted by certain extremist groups as a kind of encouragement to carry out anti-Semitic attacks," he added.

The comments came as EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana arrived for talks with senior Israeli officials, with Sharon's government arguing that the decision by all 25 European Union states to condemn the West Bank barrier should preclude the organisation playing any role in the peace process.

"Those who think that by voting in such a way they can prevent terrorist attacks, they are wrong," said the Israeli official.

The Israelis have tried to downplay the row over the premier's entreaty to all French Jews to escape "wild" anti-Semitism by moving to Israel, insisting that it was merely a "misunderstanding".

Solana himself has said that Sharon's comments were "offensive".

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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