French Ambassador to Israel: Trump's Jerusalem Announcement Is Harmful to Regional Peace

'The status quo should not be touched,' says Helene Le Gal, noting Macron informed Trump of concerns about peace and security several times ahead of his decision

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron at a news conference in Algiers, Algeria on December 6, 2017. Credit: Zohar Bensemra/Reuters
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal warned Thursday that Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is unconstructive to fostering peace in the region and may lead to violence.

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Speaking to Israel Army Radio host Illana Dayan, Le Gal noted that French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to U.S. President Trump several times to express his concern ahead of Trump's announcement to “convey [to] him our worries about the consequences.”

The status quo on Jerusalem should not be touched, said Le Gal, who has been her country's ambassador in Tel Aviv since September of last year.

Trump's latest move, she added, "is not contributing to peace in the Middle East.” The French ambassador warned that Trump's announcement from the White House on Wednesday "can lead us to violence, and we are very worried about it." 

“Jerusalem is important for three religions," Le Gal said, in reference to Islam and Christianity as well as Judaism. Israel and the Palestinians "have to find common understanding about that, and if that understanding is that Jerusalem is capital of Israel and also the State of Palestine, that would be for us the best solution.”

In his own response at a news conference in Algeria to Trump's announcement about Jerusalem, Macron said: “The status of Jerusalem is a question of international security that concerns the entire international community. The status of Jerusalem must be determined by Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.”

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Friday over Trump's move at the request of eight countries, including France on the 15-member body.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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