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Middle east

Hollande in Israel vows to fight anti-Semitism



Latest update : 2013-11-18

French President François Hollande on Monday assured Israeli lawmakers that France is fighting anti-Semitism ‘with all its might’. Hollande also told the Knesset that France is firm on preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons.

France’s President François Hollande addressed Israeli lawmakers at the Knesset on Monday, saying his country will continue its fight against anti-Semitism and vowing to ensure the security of all Jews living in France.

The French leader told the Israeli parliament that  his country is using "all its might against anti-Semitism in all its forms."

"I confirm in this house the French Republic's commitment to watch over, at all times, the security and safety of the Jews of France," he said.

The comments come after France was rocked last March by a bloody attack in Toulouse, where three French-Israeli children and a teacher were killed by a self-confessed Islamic extremist in a shooting spree.

The assault sparked horrified denunciations across France and the world, particularly in Israel, where the bodies of the Tolouse school-shooting victims were buried. Hollande will pay his, and the nation’s respects, by visiting their graves on Tuesday.

Iran will ‘not be allowed nuclear weapons’

The French president, whose Middle East tour has included talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, also assured Israel that all sanctions on Tehran will remain in place until it has "definitively renounced" its military nuclear ambitions.

"France will not let Iran arm itself with nuclear weapons," the French president said, two days ahead of a fresh round of talks in Geneva aimed at rolling back Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

Israel, along with the West, has long accused Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran, however, has insisted its controversial uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes.

"Now it is up to Iran to respond, not just with words nor with vague promises -- no. By concrete and verifiable steps," Hollande said.

A jointly-shared Jerusalem capital

Hollande, however, also told the assembly of Israeli lawmakers that both Israel and Palestine must envision jointly sharing Jerusalem as their capital, while pledging France’s continued commitment to the region.

"France's position is known: a negotiated settlement, with the state of Israel and (the state) of Palestine both having Jerusalem as capital, coexisting in peace and security," he said.

Israel seized the mostly Arab eastern sector of the Holy City during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move that has not been recognised by the international community.

The Jewish nation considers all of Jerusalem to be its "eternal and indivisible capital" and has vowed never to let the city be re-divided.

The Palestinians have insisted that East Jerusalem be the capital of their envisaged future state -- making the city's fate one of the thorniest issues in hope for eventual peace in the Middle East.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-11-18

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