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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Paris - Asharq Al-Awsat

Macron Concerned about Israel's Decision to Build 4,000 New West Bank Settlements

Israeli police attack mourners carrying the coffin of Shireen Abu Akleh (Reuters)

The Elysee Palace has said that French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his concern about Israel's recent decision to add 4,000 new illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Most countries consider the settlements illegal under international law, a position Israel rejects.

Macron held on Tuesday a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, during which they discussed security issues and bilateral ties.

The Elysee Palace said Macron also urged Israel to quickly complete investigations into the killing of a Palestinian journalist last week, who was murdered during an Israeli attack in the West Bank.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead on May 11 wearing a helmet and a press vest.

Her death, and Israeli police attacks on mourners who attempted to walk with her coffin at her funeral two days later in occupied East Jerusalem, have sparked Palestinian and international outrage.

"The president said that he was moved by the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and reiterated France's position that a rapid conclusion of the investigation was needed," said the French president's office, according to Reuters.

Israel and the Palestinians are conducting separate probes of her death, and both remain at loggerheads over the fatal shooting.

Palestinians accuse Israel of assassinating her and demand an international response.

A statement from Bennett's office following the call made no mention of Abu Akleh or the settlements.

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