east Jerusalem 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
BERLIN – The head of the French Consulate in Jerusalem told French and
Palestinian municipal officials late last month that Jerusalem will be the
capital of an independent Palestinian state.
“Welcome to Jerusalem,
capital of the future State of Palestine,” Frédéric Desagneaux said at a
conference in the city, the French-language online news outlet JSS
A participant who contacted JSS was “shocked and surprised at the
anti-Israel craze” of the attendees.
When asked by The Jerusalem Post
during a telephone interview on Thursday about Desagneaux’s comment, Damien
Cristofari, the French vice consul, stated that Desagneaux said “Jerusalem would
be the capital of two states.”
Cristofari added that the consul-
general’s position conforms to international and EU policy calling for Jerusalem
to be a divided capital of Israel and a Palestinian state. The vice consul said
that JSS “misquoted” Desagneaux.
Jonathan-Simon Sellem, the author of the
JSS report, confirmed to the Post on Thursday the accuracy of his source, and
said that Desagneaux called for Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine. The
JSS source has an audio recording of the comment from
Cristofari said the consulate was checking on a video
recording of the January 23 conference to verify Desagneaux’s remarks. The top
French diplomat in Jerusalem made his comments at a meeting on
French-Palestinian cooperation in the fields of municipal construction, culture,
democratic governance and water.
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JSS wrote that there was a total of 200
representatives from the Palestinian and French sides present. The Palestinian
Authority mayors of Hebron and Bethlehem attended the event.
that its source, who attended the event, said, “And after exchanging a few words
with the assistant consul, I learned with astonishment that the consul also
bears the title of ambassador of France in Palestine.
An ambassador of
France in Palestine whose offices are located in west
François Penguilly, deputy consul, sent an e-mail statement
to the Post
on Thursday with a link to the website of the consulate. The website
on Thursday, after Post
inquiries, posted statements from Desagneaux on the
occasion of the visit of French Cooperation Minister Henri de Raincourt on
January 23. According to the post, Desagneaux said, “Jerusalem will become the
capital of two states. This is the position of the international community.” He
blasted Israel for “colonization, demolitions and expulsions” in the Palestinian
When asked why the statement appeared on Thursday, Penguilly
said there was a “technical problem” and the webmaster has corrected
When asked about the statements attributed to Desagneaux, Sonia
Barbry, a spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Tel Aviv, told the Post on
Thursday that “I was not there and we were not involved in that job. They [the
consulate in Jerusalem] have autonomy.”
Desagneaux did not immediately
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