VIDEO – The Israeli Prime Minister was received at the Elysée for a “working lunch”. During a joint speech, the two leaders took note of their differences on the unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by Donald Trump.
“A courageous gesture towards the Palestinians”. This is the request that Emmanuel Macron made to Benyamin Netanyahu this Sunday afternoon. The Israeli Prime Minister was received at the Elysée for a "working lunch". A timely visit, as Jerusalem has been the center of attention since Donald Trump decided to unilaterally recognize the thrice-holy city as the capital of the Jewish state.
"Paris is the capital of France. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3000 years.
During a joint address, the two Heads of State hailed "the unique relationship" between France and Israel. But very quickly, they took note of their differences on Jerusalem.
Emmanuel Macron again condemned Washington's decision, "not in accordance with international law" and which does not "promote the security of Israel". He then recalled France's position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that of a solution “in two countries, living side by side in peace”. A position to which the representative of the Hebrew State reacted strongly: “We are partners, we share so many objectives, values. But we don't agree on everything. Not yet…” Before declaring: “Paris is the capital of France. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over 3000 years. (…) Jerusalem is our capital and not that of another people.”
After condemning "all forms of attacks" against Israel, Emmanuel Macron asked his counterpart "a courageous gesture towards the Palestinians" to "break the current impasse", in particular by evoking a "freeze on settlements". To which Benyamin Netanyahu retorted: "I have always offered Mahmoud Abbas to come and sit at my table and discuss." The Israeli Prime Minister then attacked Iran at length and the Turkish President, Erdogan, accused of helping terrorists. “I have no moral lessons to take from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in Turkey, imprisons journalists, helps Iran circumvent international sanctions and helps terrorists, especially in Gaza,” he said. Netanyahu, asked about Erdogan's statement earlier in the day calling Israel a "terrorist state" that "kills children."
The two men also announced their intention to "deepen" their links "in economic, technological and cultural matters", while displaying their desire to increase their "fight against terrorist barbarism". They also discussed the situation in Syria and Lebanon.
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It was the Israeli prime minister's second visit to France since Macron's election. He had already been invited to Paris last July to commemorate the Vel d'Hiv roundup. Sunday's meeting was announced on November 19, while the two leaders had exchanged by telephone about the crisis in lebanon. But regional tensions overshadowed the situation in Beirut.
Also on Sunday, an Israeli security guard was stabbed by a Palestinian in Jerusalem. Violence erupted in Beirut on the sidelines of a demonstration against US recognition of the holy city as the capital of Israel. Since Thursday, four Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, two in clashes with soldiers and two members of the Islamist movement Hamas in Israeli airstrikes in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.
The Arab League called on Washington to reverse its decision when Fatah called for the protests to continue.
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On Friday, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said France "could not act alone" to resolve the crisis. On Saturday, Emmanuel Macron went in the same direction, asking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "contribute to appeasement" between Israel and the Palestinians. In a telephone interview, he asked his counterpart "to avoid negative repercussions in the whole region".
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Source: Macron asks Netanyahu for a 'courageous gesture towards the Palestinians'
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