The French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited the French community living in Israel and Palestine to a reception at King David Hotel, in Jerusalem, on 23 June 2008, as part of his three day trip to Israel.
In front of a big crowd, the French President reasserted that he has always been a friend to Israel and that it was time for a new chapter in the relations between Israel and France. France will remain committed to Israel’s security and he declared the words of the Iranian President as ‘unacceptable.’ He added that the security of Israel depends on the creation of a viable, independent and democratic Palestinian state.
Sarkozy also denounced the attack against a young 17 year old Jew in France, saying that ‘antisemitism cannot be explained, it has to be fought.’ He also said that he could understand that Jews from France could go to Israel for ideological reasons, but that he will not accept that any Jew leaves out of fear. Speaking about the current situation, Sarkozy said that the situation in the South of Israel; where people live in fear from rocket fire is not acceptable but he added that, in the meantime, the humanitarian situation of the people of Gaza is also not acceptable. He welcomed the ceasefire, as there will be no military solution to solve the conflict.
He also evoked the situation of Gilad Shalit, who is also a French citizen: ‘there will be no peace with hostages’, and he promised French initiatives to liberate Shalit.
He praised the French living in Israel as a particular dynamic community who is also building bridges between Israel and France. Sarkozy also praised the French people who made the difficult choice to live in the Palestinian territories.
The French President is then expected to visit Bethlehem where he will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.