France’s Hollande calls for shared Jerusalem, halt to settlement building
JERUSALEM — French President Francois Hollande in a speech to the Israeli Knesset called for a two-state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital for Israel and a Palestinian state.
Earlier Monday, during a visit to the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Hollande called on Israel to stop building in West Bank settlements.
Hollande in his Knesset address praised the lawmakers and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I’m not here to lecture you about the Palestinian issue,” he said. “I understand how difficult it is to release prisoners, and it was important your prime minister stood by his promise to reignite negotiations with Palestinians.”
Hollande called Israel the “creation of unstoppable will.”
“You turned your tragedy into a crane to build your country. You were forced to fight so much to protect your country. Israel exists and continues to exist only because of your efforts,” he said.
During the special Knesset session to honor Hollande, Netanyahu called on Abbas to come to the Knesset, and he volunteered to go to Ramallah, in order to advance the peace process.
In a joint appearance with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Hollande said France is against building in the settlements.
“France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity, since it complicates the negotiation so much,” he said. “I’ve said this frankly to the Israelis.”
The French leader also called for “efforts” on the part of the Palestinians.