France to Israel: No evidence Hamas, Islamic Jihad are ''terror groups''
France expressed objections to placing Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the European Union(EU)'s list of "terror organizations", according to an Israeli report on Monday.
Israel's Yediot Aharonot website reported that diplomatic advisor to French President Jacques Chirac, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, told the Israeli ambassador in France, Nissim Zvilli, during a weekend meeting, that there is no evidence that these two organizations are "terror groups."
"If we find that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are indeed terror groups opposed to peace, we may have to change the EU's stand," Gordo conveyed. "However, we mustn't limit ourselves to one, clear cut, position."
The meeting between Zvilli and Gordo, said to be Chirac's right hand man, took place in the framework of Israeli lobbying efforts to include the two Palestinian groups in the EU "terror list".
Some two months ago, the EU added the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian to its list, enabling European countries to freeze these groups' assets, and impose other sanctions on them.
France, according to Gordo, is opposed to placing both Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the EU list, and believes Israel should deal with its "terror threats" through political, rather than military, channels.
In addition, with regards to Yasser Arafat's status, the French, according to the report, refused to accept the United States' and Israel's position. When Arafat was discussed in the meeting between Zvilli and the French official, the latter expressed the "legitimacy" of Arafat as opposed to the lack of it regarding the Palestinian Premier, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
In the meantime, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials expressed anger and outrage at the French stance regarding the two palestinian groups. "Such an attitude is one of criminal negligence. It refuses to assume responsibility over the war against terror and thus legitimizes - terrorism." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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