A delegation of six French Parliament Members and Senators visited the Knesset on Monday for a series of meetings with Israelis lawmakers.
The French delegation, headed by Senator Philippe Dallier, who is the chairman of the France-Israel Friendship Group, met with the members of the Israel-France Friendship group, including Chairman Elie Elalouf (Kulanu), Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp), Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp), Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu), Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas) and Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Joint Arab List). The senior French officials also met with MK Stav Shafir (Zionist Camp).
MK Elalouf told the French delegation that ”while the level of personal security on the streets of Israel is higher than in some neighborhoods in France, our geopolitical situation is very difficult. The region`s countries are in danger, and this has a direct effect on France as well. Unfortunately, the French government is looking to impose its policy on Israel and determine for it a plan for negotiations and withdrawal from the territories. You cannot call yourself a mediator if you have taken a clear position and set conditions.”
”Of course, France has a right to criticize Israel, but it is important that this be done within the framework of dialogue,” Elalouf continued. ”You must bear in mind that the situation of the Jews in France is intolerable at times, and some of them need tight security, so you have to make sure that the criticism against Israel`s policy does not put France`s Jewish citizens at risk. The relations between Israel and France are not as close as we would have wanted them to be, but we have a deep sense of friendship towards France. We will not forget the help France provided to Israel throughout history.”
The members of the French delegation – Senator Dallier, MP Monique Iborra, MP Jacques-Alain Benisti, MP Seybah Dagoma, MP Claude Goasguen and MP Marcel Bonnot – said they were under the impression that most Israelis support a solution of two states for two peoples, adding that they were concerned by the growing anti-Semitism in their country. They also raised a number of proposals aimed at jumpstarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and invited their Israeli counterparts to France.