Paris street honors Ben Gurion amid protests

April 15, 2010 17:53
1 minute read.


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PARIS — Pro-Palestinian protesters hurled hostile slogans at Israeli President Shimon Peres on a Paris quay Thursday as they protested the unveiling of a plaque renaming an embankment along the Seine River after Israel's founding father, David Ben Gurion.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered Peres support and urged a quick resumption of Mideast peace talks.Just before Peres arrived for the ceremony with Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, three women in Islamic headscarves approached the site and shouted "Palestine!"

Dozens of protesters aboard a pleasure boat on the Seine unfurled a banner reading: "Ben Gurion Criminal, Peres Delanoe Collaborators!" A larger pro-Palestinian protest formed across the river from the site.

Peres, who worked for Ben Gurion in Israel's early days, met Sarkozy later Thursday to discuss efforts to resume Mideast peace talks.

"France is a loyal ally of Israel," Sarkozy told reporters in the Elysee palace. Peres "knows he can count on France."

Sarkozy shared Peres' concern that Iran could be seeking a nuclear bomb.

"We want sanctions aimed at Iranian leaders in the senseless quest toward atomic arms," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy also called for quick resumption of negotiations for "the creation of a Palestinian state, moderate and viable."

"Your peace concerns us all," Sarkozy said.

Peres, finishing up a three-day trip to Paris, said "there is a good chance to resume negotiations," but did not elaborate.

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