News / Middle East

Hollande: Jerusalem Should Be Capital of Israeli, Palestinian State

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande embrace during a joint news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nov. 18, 2013.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande embrace during a joint news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nov. 18, 2013.
VOA News
French President Francois Hollande is urging Israel and the Palestinians to finally make peace, saying Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.

Hollande made the comments while addressing Israel's parliament, the Knesset late Monday, urging both sides to make gestures that could further advance the peace process.

He also sought to reassure Israel about negotiations between world powers and Iran, telling Israeli lawmakers France would never allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons.  

Prior to the French president's speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel's right to exist as the Jewish state.  Netanyahu also offered to go to Ramallah to speak to the Palestinian people.

Earlier Monday, Hollande called on Israel to stop building settlements in occupied territory, saying the construction complicates ongoing negotiations with the Palestinians.

"France opposes settlements, and we call for the halting of settlements because they complicate negotiations and make the two-state solution difficult," said President Hollande.

Hollande spoke Monday at a joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began a fresh round of peace talks in July, committing to carry out the talks for nine months.  The negotiations are taking place in private, but both sides have signaled that little progress has been made.

Abbas expressed frustration Monday with the slow pace and with the way Israel has engaged in the process, despite releasing some Palestinian prisoners.

"There is a misunderstanding amongst the Israelis that they are releasing prisoners in exchange for settlement activities, and this is not true.  This led the Palestinian negotiating team to submitting their resignation.  We have not yet looked into this resignation, and we have not said if we will agree on it or not.  We have been continuing the negotiations for nine months," said President Abbas.

More than one-half million Israeli settlers now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war that Palestinians envision as part of a future independent state.  The international community rejects those settlements as illegal.

Meanwhile, a series of U.N.-backed building projects in the Gaza Strip have come to a halt.

UNRWA media advisor Adnan Abu Hasna told Reuters Television that workers at most have sites have simply run out of material.

"Israel bans construction material for the private sector and the international organizations. Due to this we halted work on 20 building projects. The costs of these projects are $75 million.  These projects include building schools, housing units, clinics and infrastructure inside refugee camps," said Abu Hasna.

Israel imposed a ban on building materials after it discovered a Hamas-built tunnel last month.  Israel alleged militants planned to use the tunnel for attacks inside its territory.

Neighboring Egypt has also closed smuggling tunnels used to take goods between Israel and Gaza.  The United Nations says that move has caused the economic situation in the Gaza Strip, where unemployment is at 30 percent, to worsen.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 19, 2013 9:57 AM
Sometimes it looks like Francois Hollande of France is making a move to hit the nail at the head. He was very close to the truth when he said both Israel and Palestine should have one capital at Jerusalem. Then it will not be two states: imagine capital of Israel is Jerusalem; capital of Palestine is Jerusalem. It's like saying capital of USA is Washington, and capital of Canada is Washington. For that one capital to serve both peoples of Israel and Palestine, there shall be only one state, but run as a confederation. USA and Britain are practicing it and it's working, why not for Israel? Let Hollande stand by his word and push this idea at the UN and UNSc. There is no need for two states sharing one land that originally belonged to Israel.

Hollande sounded ambiguous again talking about occupied territory. How can they have a common capital and not live within each other's neighborhood? In a way Hollande has proposed that both peoples should be one country, then there is no need for boundaries between them. By the time they achieve peace based on Hollande's one capital proposal, nationality issue will become one, hence a common name shall be adopted. The use of tunnels to enter into Israel to work and do business will be stopped. But Israel goofed when it made public the revelation of the tunnels. Through them Israel should have captured and perhaps also destroyed all the bad eggs who make it impossible for peace. They go into Israel to earn a living, but hate to speak peace with Israel or allow others live in peace with, and see, Israel as a peaceful neighbor. They are worse criminals. The land of Israel was thriving with commerce and served as a convergence of international trade and diplomacy. The events at the Pentecost tells us that much.
In Response

by: barney rubble from: world
November 20, 2013 4:43 AM
> the Palestinians don't want to yield to peaceful co-existence
well as I explained Abbas clearly does want peaceful coexistence and its the other way round - with Israelis wiping Palestine off the map in word and deed.
obviously some of Hamas reject Israel's claim to statehood but as you (nearly) say: What is wrong with Hamas and Ahmedinajad expressing their opinion?
very strange there's outrage when Israel's claim to statehood is questioned but not when its Palestine's very existence thats on the line especially when the latter is much more precarious. this isn't about pro or anti Israel - its about justice.

by: BRS_CA from: California, USA
November 18, 2013 5:00 PM
The settlements are not an obstacle to peace. They are the most effective, non-violent tool Israel can use to make peace. After the '67 war, Israel built settlements and towns in the Sinai. It pressured Egypt to make peace before too many Jews moved into the Sinai and it would be too late. When Egypt finally offered peace, Israel gave up the settlements. The settlements helped to pressure Egypt to make peace.

The Arabs do not want to live in peace with Israel. They want no Israel. The Arabs use terror to pressure Israel to give up and leave the Mid-East. Their strategy is to make life in the Mid-East seem impossible for Jews, so they will leave. Israel uses the settlements to pressure the Arabs to make peace before it is too late. The settlements say to the Arabs: "Your violence and terror are not working. We will never leave. While you dedicate your children to die, killing us, we are dedicating our children to build and live in a growing land. The longer you wait to make peace, the stronger we will become and the less chance there will be that we will need to give up land."

Stopping the settlements will eliminate the most effective tool available to persuade the Arabs to make peace.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 19, 2013 9:31 AM
@barney rubble; What is wrong with Naftali expressing his opinion? In fact many of us out here share thar view. I am going forward to propose that since the Palestinians don't want to yield to peaceful co-existence, Israel should go ahead and push them out of Israeli borders, daring all consequences. The worst outcome may be to lose friendship with USA - which has not really been profitable in the first place
In Response

by: barney rubble from: world
November 19, 2013 4:40 AM
They want no Israel ?
on the contrary Abbas and the PA accept Israel's claim to statehood ...
its the reverse - settlement expansion is wiping Palestine off the map consistent with Israel's policies ..
only tjhis week Naftali Bennet made it clear he'd never accept Palestine's right to exist.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs