French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday called for a halt to Jewish settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, telling Israel's parliament this was key to peace. "There can be no peace without stopping settlement," he told members of the Knesset, the parliament in Jerusalem.
"There is a proposal backed by many members of your Knesset for the adoption of a law that would encourage settlers to leave the West Bank in exchange for compensation and relocation in Israel," he said, according to AFP.
The French leader said that the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state was a condition for peace. The Palestinians, he said, "have the right to a viable state of their own." He added that such a state would "ensure Israel's security."
Meanwhile, Sarkozy vowed Monday that France would always defend Israel in the face of any existential threat - a direct reference to Iran and its nuclear program, which he called unacceptable. "A nuclear Iran is intolerable," Sarkozy stated. "Anyone trying to destroy Israel will find France blocking the way."
Sarkozy declared: "Israel must know it is not alone in the battle against Iran's nuclear ambitions."