A driver and security guard employed by the French Consulate in eastern Jerusalem were arrested by Israeli police last month for allegedly smuggling weapons from Hamas in the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria, according to the Shin Bet on Monday.
French national Romain Franck, the consulate’s driver, is charged with using his diplomatic vehicle to smuggle 70 handguns and two assault rifles for the terror organization through the Erez Border crossing. A guard employed by the consulate, an Arab from eastern Jerusalem, was also arrested in the case, along with several Gaza Palestinians found illegally in Judea and Samaria.
The arms were able to pass through the crossing on several occasions in the past few months because diplomatic vehicles are subject to less stringent security checks.
Franck is believed to have received the weapons from a Palestinian employed by Gaza’s “French culture center.” He transported the arms to a Palestinian in Judea and Samaria who then sold them to illegal arms dealers. The embassy is not being connected to the crime, and French authorities have fully cooperated.
French lawmaker Meyer Habib, who represents French residents overseas, noted that “this isn’t the first problematic affair the French Consulate in Jerusalem has been involved in. And even if only junior staff were involved, there is a feeling, unfortunately, that the consulate has actually become the French Embassy to the Palestinian Authority.”