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French President Emmanuel Macron on a visit to Jerusalem to meet Netanyahu and Abbas


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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived on Wednesday in Israel and the Palestinian territories, before commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz Nazi camp, corresponding to Thursday. Macron, along with about 40 other leaders from around the world, was invited to participate in the ceremony. The French President is scheduled to meet both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and stop in East Jerusalem, which is the center of the conflict between the two parties.

On the first day of his visit For Israel and the Palestinian Territories On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron will meet both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and will stop in East Jerusalem, the center of the conflict between the two camps.

The Iranian file is at the heart of Macron’s visit

Macron, who was invited to Israel on Thursday, along with about 40 other leaders from around the world, to commemorate the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi camp, chose to arrive a day earlier for these talks, which will deal in particular The fiery Iranian file Since the killing of the commander of the Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Soleimani, in a US air raid in Baghdad early this month.

On Wednesday morning, the French President will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and another with former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition and Netanyahu’s rival for prime minister.

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Macron is seeking, through his meeting with Gantz, to avoid appearing biased towards one of the main candidates in the elections scheduled for the second of next March.

“I will not go with a peace plan.”

In the afternoon, the French President will visit the occupied West Bank, where he will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the city of Ramallah.

Macron is the only one of the other heads of state to come to Israel this week, who will visit Ramallah.

Macron, during his meeting with Abbas, will affirm France’s steadfast stance on the two-state solution and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

And if the French President had promised, shortly after receiving the keys to the Elysee, to present a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians, then such an idea no longer fondled him, especially since the United States has not yet presented its plan to achieve peace between the two parties.

“I will not go with a peace plan in my possession that I will impose on both sides. I will discuss with them and see,” Macron told reporters last week.

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Elysee was keen, before his lord’s visit to the region, to satisfy both parties, as he criticized Israel’s “fait accompli” in its expansion of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and at the same time promised that Macron’s speech in front of the Fad Yashim monument on Thursday would be very sharp in rejecting hostility High.

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And live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem about 600 thousand settlers on the land of Palestinians, who number about three million Palestinians.

The United Nations believes that the settlements that have been built on the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 are illegal, and a large part of the international community is considered a major obstacle to peace.

Visit the Church of Saint Ann

Like his predecessors François Hollande and Jacques Chirac, Macron will seize the opportunity of being in Jerusalem to visit St. Ann’s Church in East Jerusalem.

This church, owned by France and dating back to the twelfth century, is located within the walls of the Old City, and the French President will visit it accompanied by representatives of the Christian denominations, who will meet with him later on for lunch. Macron can also roam the neighborhoods of the Old City.

In 1996, French President Jacques Chirac refused to enter the church until the Israeli soldiers who accompanied him left it. Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then prime minister, apologized for the incident.

On Wednesday evening, representatives of some forty countries will meet for an official dinner at the invitation of the Israeli President on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi camp.

The French president last month supported the French National Assembly’s vote on a non-binding resolution that considers “anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism.” The president’s support was criticized by some deputies of the majority, the opposition, and some Jewish intellectuals.

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Nevertheless, the Israelis criticize Macron for the increasing frequency of anti-Semitic acts in France and for his attempts to play a mediating role between US President Donald Trump and Iran, which the Jewish state accuses of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

Beyond the thorny issue of Jerusalem, the French President intends to highlight the importance he attaches to the Christian groups backed by France in Israel.

France protects 40 French-speaking missions in Israel, which provide Paris with a valuable means of influence through the schools, orphanages and hospitals it runs, especially in the Palestinian territories, according to Father Luc Barrett, adviser on religious affairs at the French Consulate General in Jerusalem.

And if Macron walks through the crowded streets of the Old City, he will undoubtedly notice the increasing numbers of Jewish settlers living on the upper floors, as evidenced by the Israeli flags flying from their balcony in the middle of the Islamic neighborhood, according to Father Locke.

/ AFP

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