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Israel accuses French diplomat of ‘helping Palestinians rewrite history’

JTA

October 15, 2012 | 10:32 am

Foreign Affairs office building in Jerusaelm, Israel.

Foreign Affairs office building in Jerusaelm, Israel.

Israel’s foreign ministry has accused France’s consul general in Jerusalem of “denying Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.”

The statement by Yigal Palmor, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came in response to remarks made last month by Consul General Frederic Desagneaux in a speech on archeology. He spoke of “the important archaeological projects that French archaeologists had helped to uncover in Palestine,” including the Qumran Caves.

Desagneaux also praised French archaeologists for “helping to discover Palestine.” An approved copy of his speech mentions, in this context, the Qumran Caves, where archaeologists discovered the collection of biblical texts knows as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The text does not contain the word “Jewish” and Israel appears in it once, in a sentence about the “Israelo-Palestinian conflict.”

“We have seen how important these heritage sites are to international recognition of Palestine, and France intends to continue to lead the movement to recognize the Palestinian's management of these sites,” he said according to the copy of his speech published on the website of the consulate.

Palmor, the Israeli foreign ministry's spokesperson, confirmed to JTA that the ministry had expressed “shock that that the French Consul General was joining forces with those who would rewrite history to reflect specific agendas and erase the Jewish and Israeli connection to the Land of Israel.”

“It is unworthy of an official representative of France to provide assistance to this kind of propaganda, at the expense of fairness and historical truth,” Palmor said in statement published last week in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv.

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