French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, claimed Wednesday that the Israeli plan to construct hundreds of homes in Gilo settlement, near Bethlehem, would not hinder the peace process. He also expressed opposition to a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. He said that he believes that expansion plan is not political in nature and should not be an obstacle to peace.

Yet, he failed to mention that Gilo, as well as all Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, are illegal and violate the International Law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

French ambassador in Israel, Christophe Bigot, stated that Kouchner opposes settlements, but Gilo ‘should not be considered an obstacle”, Israeli Ynet News reported.

Furthermore, Kouchner said that his country will not recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, and added that the Palestinian statements regarding this issue are only meant to attract international attention for further mediation as the peace process is failing to advance.

He further stated that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, should encourage the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and give him hope in the peace process.

Kouchner said that the Palestinians, Israel and the International Community must act to achieve peace, and must not lose faith in the peace process.

He said that he believes a progress in peace talks is close, and that a Palestinian state is close too.

The Israeli plan to expand Gilo settlement was criticized by the United Nations, The European Union, the United Nations and Russia.