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France summons Israeli ambassador over settlements

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Monday summoned Israel's envoy in Paris for a meeting but played down reports it could recall its ambassador to Israel in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to expand settlement building in occupied territories.

"The ambassador has been summoned in order to express our disapproval," foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said. The Israeli embassy also confirmed the meeting.

A ministry official brushed off reports that France could recall its own envoy in Jerusalem and said Paris was looking at other ways of putting pressure on Netanyahu.

"There are other ways in which we can express our disapproval," the official told Reuters.

France and Britain have both condemned Israel's plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying international confidence in Israel's desire to make peace with the Palestinians was at risk.

Netanyahu has dismissed world condemnation of his latest settlement plans, which were announced on Friday just hours after the United Nations voted overwhelming to upgrade the Palestinians' diplomatic status.

Israel said on Friday it would build thousands of new settler homes, including in a wedge zone between Jerusalem and the West Bank, known as E1, which Washington considers especially sensitive.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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