French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has said that Israeli "settler violence must stop" against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has doubled-down on Israel's resolve to "deal a fatal blow" against Hamas and Iran-backed militant groups in the region.
Speaking during the second day of a Middle East tour aimed at securing a truce between Israel and Hamas, Séjourné said: "Under no circumstances can there be forced displacement of Palestinians, neither out of Gaza nor out of the West Bank."
While in Jerusalem, the French minister denounced anti-Palestinian rhetoric and "calls to commit war crimes" by Israeli officials, after some Netanyahu allies have appeared to endorse Jewish re-settlement of the Gaza Strip after the war.
Séjourné also called for support for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, led by president Mahmud Abbas.
"The future of the Gaza Strip is inseparable from the future of the West Bank, we must prepare for this future by supporting the Palestinian Authority," Séjourné said.
"It must renew itself and redeploy as soon as possible in the Gaza Strip," where Hamas seized power in 2007, he added.
"I repeat: Gaza is Palestinian land," the foreign minister stressed, during what is his first tour of the region since being named as France's top diplomat in January.
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