France offers troops to P.A. areas


France said it’s willing to send troops to police Palestinian areas.

Francois Fillon, the French prime minister, addressed the American Jewish Committee’s annual Washington event on Thursday and pledged his nation’s support for Israel and the peace process.

“Together with the United States, France supports Israel in its arduous journey toward a just and lasting peace,” he said.

Fillon said both sides must make painful compromises in order to achieve a peace agreement: Israel must freeze Jewish settlement building and loosen security controls, and the Palestinians must guarantee Israel’s security, stop rocket attacks on Israel’s south and release Gilad Shalit, a soldier held captive for almost two years.

“The Palestinian Authority must shoulder its responsibilities and reform its security services,” he said. “France and Europe are prepared to provide assistance in this effort and, if the parties so wish, take part in an international force to support the Palestinian security services.”

Israel has in recent years reversed its decades of opposition to an outside force patrolling the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas terrorist group is currently in control, partly out of increased skepticism that moderate Palestinians will assume control anytime soon. The Palestinian Authority also favors international troops to police the peace.

Fillon, a graduate of AJC’s Project Interchange program, which brings young leaders to Israel, reiterated President Nicolas Sarkozy’s “zero tolerance” policy for anti-Semitism in France. He noted that, among other recent steps, France had shut down the broadcast in France of al-Manar, a TV station affiliated with the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group.

He also repeated Sarkozy’s pledge to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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