France warns of escalation risk after Israel bars Palestinians

10th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

Israel's decision to bar Palestinians from entering its territory following the Tel Aviv attack could raise tensions and lead to more violence, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned Friday.

"The decision by the Israeli authorities today to revoke tens of thousands of entry permits could stoke tensions which could lead to a risk of escalation," said Ayrault.

"We must be careful about anything that could stoke tensions," Ayrault told reporters at UN headquarters.

The foreign minister made the remarks after the Israeli army announced it was temporarily barring Palestinians from entering Israel, stepping up tough restrictions announced after Palestinian gunmen shot dead four Israelis in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Crossings to Israel from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were closed for all Palestinians except those seeking urgent medical care and other humanitarian cases.

France has condemned the attack in a popular Tel Aviv nightspot that also wounded five people and was the deadliest in a months-long wave of violence.

Ayrault was at the United Nations to take part in a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping, a week after France hosted an international meeting in Paris on reviving the peace process.

"There must be a political initiative from the international community to create conditions conducive to appeasement and a return to negotiations," said the foreign minister.

"France is always working for the security of Israel," he said.

The Paris meeting brought together representatives from 29 countries and international organisations to agree on the way to re-start talks that have been comatose since a US peace initiative collapsed in April 2014.

© 2016 AFP

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