French, Israeli FMs disagree over barrier
French and Israeli Foreign Ministers, Dominique de Villepin and Silvan Shalom have expressed opposed views over Israel’s “security fence” at a gala dinner given in Paris by the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
De Villepin questioned on Wednesday whether the barrier would boost security or whether on the contrary it risked “fuelling the hatred” between Palestinians and Israelis.
Addressing about 400 guests, Shalom replied that the barrier was “necessary and legitimate” and that there was no other way to protect the Israeli people against “terrorist attacks”.
Speaking at a Bethlehem press conference Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Jerusalem should be divided, and called on Israel to dismantle the West Bank security fence
“The separation fence will not bring security to Israelis forever,” the French leader added.
The boosted security measures, under construction since last year, come with France still on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 240 people since 2015.
The new walls, shown to journalists during a site tour on Thursday, are part of security measures that have cost nearly 35 million euros ($40.7 million) and are due to be finished by mid-July.