France sees 'risk of apartheid' in Israel

France sees 'risk of apartheid' in Israel
Israeli and international rights groups have already determined that Israel is an apartheid state but Le Drian is one of the first senior French officials to use the term.
2 min read
Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters marched in Paris and other French cities on Saturday [Getty]

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Sunday of the risk of "long-lasting apartheid" in Israel in the event the Palestinians fail to obtain their own state.

Le Drian is one of the first senior French officials to use the term "apartheid" in reference to Israel, which has angrily denied any policy of racial discrimination.

The veteran politician made the remarks in an interview with RTL radio and Le Figaro newspaper in reference to the intercommunal violence that erupted between Jewish and Palestinian Israelis in several Israeli cities during the latest conflict.

Rights groups say Palestinian citizens of Israel are subject to routine legal and social discrimination.

"It's the first time and it clearly shows that if in the future we had a solution other than the two-state solution, we would have the ingredients of long-lasting apartheid," Le Drian said, using the word for the white supremacist oppression of Black people in South Africa from 1948 to 1991.

Le Drian said the "risk of apartheid is high" if Israel continued to act "according to a single-state logic" but also if it maintained the status quo.

"Even the status quo produces that," he said.

He added that Israel's 11-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip had shown the need to revive the moribund Middle East peace process.

"We have to take one step at a time," he said, expressing satisfaction that US President Joe Biden had reiterated support for creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Israel's latest assault on Gaza killed 248 people, including 66 children, and wounded over 1,900, the Gaza health ministry said.

Meanwhile, rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups into Israel killed 12 and wounded around 357 others, Israeli police said.