France's government has warned French nationals against investing, purchasing land or engaging in economic activity in the controversial Jewish settlements built in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
The French foreign ministry issued a notice to its citizens to warn them against any financial activity in settlements in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.
The notice said that any business conducted in the settlements entails legal risks as they are built upon land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. The construction of such settlements is considered illegal under international law.
The foreign ministry announcement claimed that the European Commission, Spain and Italy were to follow suit and publish similar notices about the investment in Israeli settlements after Britain and Germany issued similar directives several months ago.
"Due to the fact that the settlements are illegal in international law, the performance of financial activity in the settlements such as money transfers, investments, acquisition of property, provision of supplies or the performance of any other economic activities that benefit the settlements involves risks," the statement on the foreign ministry website read in French.
The statement continued to warn of the risks posed by settlement investment because of the international community's refusal to recognise them as part of Israel.
"This could lead to a high likelihood of land disputes or disagreements regarding water, quarries or other natural resources," the statement added.
"This involves risk to the image of those who carry out such economic activity... We call upon citizens or businesspeople who are considering becoming involved in economic activity in the settlements to seek appropriate legal advice before going ahead."
An Israeli diplomat told Haaretz that the warnings were unwelcome at a time when three Israeli teenagers remain missing after being kidnapped in the occupied West Bank.
Dani Dayan, the chairman of the YESHA (Hebrew acronym for Yehuda Shomron, Aza) Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria tweeted that French citizens "keep joining" the West Bank's Jewish communities and that their "investment won't stop".
The warning from the French government comes as a victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the decision, though not legally-binding, is likely to lead to an increased boycott of French financial activity within the settlements.
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has flown to Paris today to discuss the breakdown of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority and the kidnap of three Israeli teenagers with his American and French counterparts John Kerry and Laurent Fabius.