Antisemitism is still alive and well in France, Macron tells Israel

Lynette Rowe
July 17, 2017

"But it is also very important to us to improve the relations with the countries in Europe".

The French leader met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday, when he said he backed a two-state solution and opposed Israeli settlements. According to the Israeli authorities, Iran plans to deploy an airbase and a naval base in Syria and send its military advisers and a military contingent to that country.

In his briefing with journalists, Netanyahu also related to the situation on the Temple Mount following Friday's attack and reiterated that Israel has no intention of altering the status quo there.

Israelis and Palestinians should be able "to live side by side within secure and recognised borders with Jerusalem as the capital", Macron said after his first official talks with Netanyahu.

"France has always condemned the continuation of settlement building, which is illegal under worldwide law and has reached an unprecedented level since the beginning of the year", he said in his first public remarks on the conflict since taking office.

Macron said France is ready to apply diplomatic levers toward renewed negotiations but gave no specifics. "Justice must make all the clarity about a possible anti-Semitic motive, " the president said.

About 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported in appalling conditions in railway boxcars to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most died. "It is indeed France that organized" the roundup, Macron said.

"Not a single German" was directly involved, he said, but French police collaborating with the Nazis.

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"It was indeed France". About 4,000 were children.

De Villiers still has Macron's "full trust", the president told JDD, provided the top general "knows the chain of command and how it works". "Archives open (and) the truth comes out. It's stark, irrevocable. It imposes itself on us all".

His office said Macron was concerned about Israel's security but also anxious that Netanyahu was backing away from commitment to a two-state solution.

During the Holocaust, the values of the French Revolution - liberty, equality and fraternity - were brutally crushed "under the boot of anti-Semitism", he went on. We have known in Israel a lot of heroism, as have you here in France.

One of those who attended the ceremony was Felix Jastreb, who was 12 at the time of the roundup. They did not come back.

Following the ceremony, Netanyahu arrived at the Élysée Palace for a sit-down with Macron.

The tragic episode was controversial during the most recent presidential campaign as far-right candidate Marine Le Pen claimed that France was "not responsible for the Vel d'Hiv", she was sharply criticized for the comment. "We must stand against them together and defeat them together".

In his own remarks at the site of the Vel d'Hiv, Chirac, in 1995, put it this way: "France, on that day, committed the irreparable".

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