France, EU condemns Israel minister's 'no Palestinians' tirade

AFP , AP , Tuesday 21 Mar 2023

France described on Tuesday as "irresponsible" a firebrand Israeli minister's remarks denying the existence of the Palestinian people.

Colonna   Borrell
European Commission vice-president in charge for High-Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy Josep Borrell speaks with France s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna (R) ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 20, 2023. AFP


"We call on persons who have been called to high office within the Israeli government to show the required dignity, to respect that of others, and to refrain from all action or declaration that could contribute to the escalation of tensions," the foreign ministry said, after Israel's far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich made the comments on Sunday in Paris.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the minister’s remarks “certainly cannot be tolerated.”

“I have to deplore this unacceptable comment. It is wrong, it is disrespectful, it is dangerous, it is counter-productive to say these kinds of things in a situation that is already very tense,” Borrell told reporters after chairing a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers.

“Could you imagine if a Palestinian leader would have said the state of Israel does not exist. What would have been the reaction?” he added.

Borrell called on the Israeli government “to disavow those comments and to start working with all parties to defuse tensions.”

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