French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc AyraultReuters

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned on Friday that Israel's decision to bar Palestinians from entering its territory following the Tel Aviv attack could raise tensions and lead to more violence, AFP reports.

"The decision by the Israeli authorities today to revoke tens of thousands of entry permits could stoke tensions which could lead to a risk of escalation," said Ayrault.

"We must be careful about anything that could stoke tensions," Ayrault told reporters at UN headquarters.

His comments came in response to Israel’s actions following the attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, which included freezing work entry visas for some 204 members of the attackers’ extended family.

Israel also rescinded some 83,000 entry permits given to Arabs from Judea and Samaria for Ramadan. Goodwill gestures to Gaza Arabs, including travel permits to Jerusalem to participate in Ramadan prayers on the Temple Mount, were also rescinded.

Israel also imposed a general closure on Palestinian Authority-assigned of Judea and Samaria during the Shavuot holiday.

Ayrault was at the United Nations to take part in a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping, a week after France hosted an international meeting in Paris on reviving the peace process.

"There must be a political initiative from the international community to create conditions conducive to appeasement and a return to negotiations," said the foreign minister, according to AFP.

"France is always working for the security of Israel," he stressed.

The Paris meeting brought together representatives from 29 countries and international organizations to agree on the way to re-start talks that have been comatose since a US peace initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Ayrault’s comments are similar to those of the State Department, whose spokesman Mark Toner on Thursday called on Israel not to “punish innocent Palestinians” in response to the attack.

Meanwhile on Friday, United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's office issued a mild condemnation of the attack itself, but then went on to say that he was "deeply concerned" by Israel's response.

The Jewish state's reaction "includes measures that may amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time," the statement said. 

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)