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France summons Israeli envoy over Jewish settlements

PARIS, July 23 (KUNA) -- The French Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned Israeli Ambassador in Paris Daniel Shek to demand a halt of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and a reopening of crossings with the Gaza Strip.
Spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry Eric Chevallier said the Israeli ambassador to France had already been summoned and told that Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem should be stopped.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was quoted by Chevallier as saying that a halt of Israeli settlements was essential for maintaining the two-state solution and resuming Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
The US, France, European Union (EU) and Russia have called on Israel to halt settlement activities in East Jerusalem, but the latter is still defiant.
Kouchner has recently blasted Jewish settlements as against both international and Israeli law, calling for a stop of those activities.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy had also reiterated "the need for a complete freeze" of building settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls and insisted Jews should be allowed to build homes anywhere they like in Jerusalem. (end) tm.mt KUNA 231728 Jul 09NNNN