Israel / Palestinian Territories - Q&A - Extract from the press briefing (3 January 2024)


Q: France has said repeatedly that it’s preparing to take national measures against some extremist Israeli settlers. What’s delaying this initiative?

A: France is going to take administrative measures to ban extremist Israeli settlers who have been or are guilty of violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank from entering the country. Taking these measures at national level requires a prior effort to identify the individuals potentially concerned and gather information to give reasons for the measures in law.

France is also in favor of adopting sanctions at European level against these violent settlers. The matter was raised by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs at the latest Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels in December. In this respect, we’re working with our European partners to identify individuals to whom these sanctions could apply. If necessary, such sanctions should be the subject of a unanimous agreement by the 27 Member States.
France reaffirms its firm condemnation of the violence perpetrated by groups of settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. This violence must stop. It is the Israeli authorities’ responsibility to ensure this and prosecute the perpetrators.

This condemnation is part of our firm condemnation of settlement activity in general. Our position is very clear: settlement activity is illegal under international law. In this respect, we are asking the Israeli authorities to reverse the recent shameful decisions speeding up settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories, such as the one aimed at authorizing the construction of 1,800 new housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem, announced on 6 December 2023. They are diminishing the prospect of creating a viable Palestinian State, which is the only solution possible for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security on their lands. The war in Gaza must in no way serve as an excuse for imposing unilateral measures on the ground that undermine the prospects of a two-State solution, the only one that can guarantee a just and lasting peace.