While the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, finishes a tour of the Near and Middle East, France’s position on the Israeli offensive on Gaza remains unclear for some residents.
“I met Jacques Chirac“, says Zacharia proudly. His meeting with the former French president is the first thing that this trader, met in the Palestinian part of Jerusalem, says when we talk to him about France.
And even if he handles irony perfectly, we quickly understand that Paris has disappointed him since the attack of October 7 and the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that followed. “At least he said ‘Don’t kill babies’, he’s better than the rest. The economy is more important to them than children and humanity“, he says, referring to the statements of Emmanuel Macron, who has been calling for a general ceasefire for several weeks.
But French diplomacy in the region has experienced a turning point with a less balanced position than in the past, according to diplomats familiar with the region, denouncing a misunderstood position in the Middle East in a note.
“I am sad for the French”
Mahmoud, who runs the neighboring business, is inexhaustible on what he describes as “double speech“Western powers, also in their decline. He points to France in the first place.”I’m sad for the French, do you know why? Because the French know the meaning of the word occupation. I am 52 years old, I was born under occupation. But we always hope that one day, someone will understand that this can’t last“, he proclaims.
Tony has a special link with France: he studied in a French school located nearby. But his assessment is without affect: “I think Macron is making a big mistake. It’s frustrating. We’re talking about the first secular country in the world, and this is what you’re doing? It’s very sad, very frustrating”he regrets.
In this part of the old town, however, politics has never been the favorite subject: here, usually, we live for tourism. But since October 7, everything has stopped, empty, unrecognizable.
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