During his walk in the Old City, French President Emmanuel Macron was involved in an altercation with Israeli security officers. If his presence in Jerusalem is to attend the World Holocaust Forum taking place today, together with many leaders of the world, Macron took time to stroll the streets of the Old City, and things went sour.
“RESPECT THE RULES !”
French President Emmanuel Macron gets testy with Israeli police in the church of Sainte Anne, Old City of Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/14NjxLPvLA
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) January 22, 2020
When French President decided to visit Saint Anne Church, a Roman Catholic church from the 12th century gifted to Napoleon III by the Ottoman Sultan in 1856, he shouted “Go outside!” at the Israeli security officers who followed him in. Saint Anne Church is considered to be French territory in Jerusalem, and therefore, it is up to France to ensure the security on its premises. Macron intervened in the altercation between Israeli and French security forces in order to end it, and remind the Israelis that there are rules, and they have to respect them.
WHAT’S THE MESSAGE, HERE ?
France has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Old City, as it lies in the Eastern part of Jerusalem, considered as “occupied territory”. A consideration wildly disputed by Israel which see all of Jerusalem as its sovereign territory. The incident reminded many of a similar issue when Jacques Chirac visited Saint Anne in 1996. Chirac was the first French President to acknowledge French government’s complicity in the Holocaust, however, France is regularly reminding Israel that it will not accept its provocations.