French Foreign Minister Jean Sauvagnargues began his three-day visit to Israel on Wednesday (30 October), despite opposition calls in the Knesset (Parliament) for its cancellation.
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Background: French Foreign Minister Jean Sauvagnargues began his three-day visit to Israel on Wednesday (30 October), despite opposition calls in the Knesset (Parliament) for its cancellation.
The Israelis were offended by the stand taken by the French Government, which they claim is "Pro-Arab" and would damage peace moves. And they wore not particularly pleased with the meeting between the French Foreign Minister and Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Said Yasser Arafat, in Beirut last week.
During his visit to Israel, M. Sauvagnargues is expected to visit the Israeli part of (western) Jerusalem as well as the eastern part of Jerusalem, which was under Jordanian control until occupied by Isrrael during the June 1967 war. These are to be separate visits.
However, any suggestions in future peace moves that Israel should hand back the eastern part of the Holy City will, almost certainly, be rejected by the Israelis who have already thrown out the idea of "internationalising" the city.
The Israelis are continuing to develop Jerusalem -- despite the political uncertainties -- with a long-term plan to consolidate the city and make it the nation's united capital.
More commercial and residential complexes (complete with up-to-date amenities and recrsutional facilities) are being built.
Part of the Israeli programme is to populate the Jordanian part of the city with Israelis. Conservative estimates place the number of the Israelis now there at 25,000.