Israel envoy summoned over ‘intrusion’ at French cultural center

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France’s foreign ministry said Friday that it had summoned the Israeli government’s representative in Paris over what it called an “intrusion” by Israeli forces at its cultural center in Jerusalem.

In a rare move, police entered the building Thursday to cancel an event with a women’s group which Israel claims is sponsored or financed by the Palestinian Authority.

A diplomatic source said France’s consul general had immediately protested the police’s entry to the center in east Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed in a move not recognized by the international community.

“Such actions are a serious and unacceptable infringement to the functioning of our cultural network in Jerusalem,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the Israeli charge d’affaires had been called to meet with French officials for “necessary clarifications.”

“France intends to maintain and develop its deep and longstanding relations with Palestinian civil society,” it added.

The French consulate could not confirm Thursday if the women’s association was indeed financed by the Palestinian Authority - Israel considers all PA activities in Jerusalem illegal.

But Palestinians who were to participate in the event said the allegation was false.

“It was an event related to Mother’s Day” and to sell crafts made by women from Jerusalem, said one of the women who was to participate, declining to give her name.

Similar events occur on a near-monthly basis, she said.

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