Francois Hollande, the French president, has told Israeli MPs that his country would not allow Iran to secure a nuclear weapon, saying that such a situation was a threat to Israel and the region.
To loud applause inside the Israeli parliament, Hollande said: “We have nothing against Iran, or its people, but we cannot allow Iran to get nuclear arms as it is a threat to Israel and the region.”
“We will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitively renounced its military programme.”
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said Hollande’s “words were music to Israeli ears”.
On a future state of Palestine, Hollande told the Israeli parliament that Jerusalem must be the future capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
“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 and occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later illegally annexed it. It views the entire city as its “eternal and indivisible capital”.
He had earlier called for a complete halt to Israel’s illegally building settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
Speaking on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories, Hollande said that settlement construction was problematic for peace negotiations, which have been limping along for more than three months with little sign of progress.
“France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity,” he said in Ramallah in a joint news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.
“Settlement activity complicates the negotiations and makes it difficult to achieve a two-state solution,” Hollande said.
Since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to the table at the end of July, Israel has made several announcements of thousands of new settler homes, angering the Palestinian negotiators. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has recently said those activities were to be suspended.