French ambassador: With Netanyahu as PM, region ‘may get more violent’

French Ambassador Danon also said Israel has a poor image in France after some embassy personnel were stopped at the Bethlehem crossing.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The French ambassador to Israel publicly came out against incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after being angered by a diplomatic incident, Israel National News reported Wednesday.

“There is a possibility that the region will be more violent under the Netanyahu government that will be established,” Eric Danon said on IDF radio station Galei Tzahal, according to INN.

He was speaking after some members of the French consulate had been stopped from entering Jerusalem through the security checkpoint at the edge of Bethlehem.

Israel’s image in his country is already at a “low point,” he added, with episodes such as these making it hard for the embassy to back the Jewish state in Paris.

This is not the first time Danon has criticized a Netanyahu government.

In June 2020, he talked of unnamed “consequences” if Israel declared sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, a possibility that Netanyahu, then prime minister, had raised during the election campaign that was underway at the time.

Backlash would come because “there are violations of international law of different degrees of severity, and an annexation of the Jordan Valley and the settlements would be considered a serious one,” he told Times of Israel in an interview at the time.

While declining to speculate on specific moves Paris would make in response to “something that has not happened yet,” he hinted that France would take its cue from what its fellow European countries might do, which would also depend on “what effectively happens.”

In the event, no declaration of sovereignty has been made to date, although it could become a topic of conversation again since the Likud’s new coalition partners are strong proponents of the idea.

Danon has been his country’s ambassador to Israel since June 2019. His parents, of Middle Eastern and Greek-Jewish stock, were born in Egypt but emigrated to France after World War II.