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Sarkozy Slams Iran And Settlements

President Nicolas Sarkozy: 'A Nuclear Iran Is Unacceptable'

'France Will Stand In The Way Of Those Trying To Destroy Israel'

'Israel Must Stop Settlement Building & Jerusalem Must also Be Capital Of Palestinian State'

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Israeli Parliament Kneseet

Speaking in the Knesset, French President Nicolas Sarkozy pulled no punches when he addressed the burning issues affecting Israel, Iran and the Palestinians. IsraCast reports the French leader spoke frankly of Israel's right to exist, the Iranian nuclear threat and the need for Israeli concessions to end the Palestinian conflict.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was given a standing ovation both at the start and end of a stirring speech in Israel's parliament. But not everyone would agree with all his comments.

Nicolas Sarkozy Arriving at Israel

Nicolas Sarkozy began by expressing unequivocal support for Israel's right to exist. After being driven from its ancient homeland over nineteen hundred years ago, it was only right and just that the Jewish people have their own national state. His historic survey was masterful, a tour de force tracing the unmatched contribution of the Jewish people to universal civilization and culture. And he added: 'France will always block the way of those seeking Israel's destruction - A nuclear Iran was unacceptable'.  France would support harsher sanctions against Iran saying it was also intolerable that Tehran was threatening to annihilate the Jewish state.

Having said that, the French leader then spoke of the French wish to be friends of the Palestinians and as a true friend of Israel, he had to speak frankly. Israelis and Palestinians were fated to live alongside one another and there could never be peace until the Palestinians also had their state. And Jerusalem must also be the capital of Palestine. Moreover, Israel must halt its settlement building. Part of the House applauded immediately, right wingers remained silent. Sarkozy hoped that the current cease-fire with Gaza would prevail - earlier he had condemned terrorism declaring: 'Don't explain terrorism - fight it!' As for Israel, it was the stronger and should extend its hand in peace noting in the past, France had had to forgive its neighbor, that is Germany.

Despite his controversial comments on Jerusalem and settlement building, the French leader was given a standing ovation by all members of Knesset - Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla were big hits. He is the latest of world leaders to visit the Jewish state after U.S. President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is hard to envisage their visits if there were no peace contacts with the Palestinians. As such it is a boost for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert beset by moves to oust him from office due to several financial scandals. There is no question that these leaders are proven friends of Israel, and have expressed their strong support for Jewish self-determination and condemnation of a nuclear Iran. Nevertheless, they have they have also left the message that they also support the right of the Palestinians to their own state. Otherwise, there would never be peace. In this context, these world leaders are calling on Israel to persevere in a peace process with the Palestinians despite the terrorism. This is a political reality every Israeli government must live with if it wants to continue enjoying the support and visits by more international figures.

Sarkozy receiving applause at the Knesset
French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Israeli Parliament Kneseet
Karla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy


David Essing

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