French FM warns Israel on its way to apartheid

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gives a press conference ar the 701 Air Base of Salon-de-Provence, southern France, on May 25, 2013 during celebrations, marking the 60th anniversary of the French elite acrobatic flying team "Patrouille de France" (PAF). AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN

The French foreign minister took issue with those who assert Europe has no power to help resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. LAHAV HARKOV

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a news conference during the Foreign ministers of G7 nations meeting in Dinard, France, April 6, 2019.

(photo credit: STEPHANE MAHE / REUTERS)

The current situation in Israel could lead it to become an apartheid state, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday.

The chance of a two-state solution “was starting to disappear,” he said on the French TV program Grand Jury. “The risk of apartheid is strong if we continue to adopt a logic of one state or the status quo.”

We must “initiate a policy of small steps,” Le Drian said, adding: “We must ensure that there is a logic of trust that can be established” between Israel and the Palestinians.

French lawmaker Meyer Habib, who represents French expats in Israel and other countries, criticized Le Drian, saying his remarks were “unfortunate.”

“Israel will never be an apartheid state,” he said. “[France] should not be preaching to the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state in the world.”

Le Drian’s “irresponsible statement adds fuel to the fire, perhaps with a goal to get votes from the pro-Arab Left,” Habib said.

Le Drian’s remarks come amid a push by NGOs to label Israel an apartheid state. Human Rights Watch released a lengthy report making that argument last month, as did Breaking the Silence earlier this year.


While accusing Israel of apartheid, Human Rights Watch distanced itself from comparisons to what was once an actual apartheid state, South Africa, while still claiming Israel falls under that category.

Le Drian also expressed concern over violence in mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel in recent weeks.

He took issue with those who say Europe has no power to help resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“Europe is powerful,” Le Drian said. “It plays its part in the Middle East.”

Last week, the EU Foreign Affairs Council was unable to release a statement about the fighting between Israel and Hamas because it must be done by consensus, and Hungary vetoed it.

Countries such as France and Germany were pandering to their Muslim citizens, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, adding that he was standing up for his mostly Christian country and its values by supporting Israel.



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