The war in Gaza strains politics in a France with less and less international influence

A hubbub of absurd statements and controversies. The war of Loop has irritated the political class in France. The last two weeks have been a low-level drama, despite the seriousness of the current situation in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Far from its singularity on the international scene of yesteryear and its ability to speak to all types of actors, the neighboring country has a secondary role in appeasing this new escalation in middle East. To this loss of international weight is added the other side of this coin: a polarized political and media debate about a complex and tragic conflict, which further accentuates the tensions in the multicultural Gallic society.

The latest episode of this poor moment that French political life is going through took place this Monday afternoon, with a heated and disrespectful debate in the National Assembly. “We are Pavlovians of discord,” lamented the centrist deputy Jean-Louis Bourlangues. It was held on the eve of a trip on Tuesday by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to the Hebrew State. Although there are no high expectations for that visit, especially that it will serve to obtain a Stop the fire and a peaceful resolution to conflictthe leader aspires to achieve some kind of progress regarding the release of the hostages of Hamas or the entrance of humanitarian aid in the Palestinian territories.

“Israel has the right to security, the right to defend itself,” the prime minister assured at the opening of the session. Elisabeth Borne. With his speech, he has attempted to defend a balanced position, although also baroque and with the risk of having little impact. “The military response must be done in respect of the international right“, especially international humanitarian law,” added Borne, who has called for a “humanitarian truce.” A position similar to that of the Spanish Government and that France already defended last week when voting on Brazil’s resolution in the Security Council of the UNfinally vetoed by USA.

Divergences within macronism

The prime minister has claimed to defend “the unique voice of France.” However, her position generates criticism, on the one hand, from the left who accuses her of being too soft on the Israeli Government Benjamin Netanyahu. And, on the other, from the right and sectors of Macronism, who aspire to “unconditional support” to Israel, modeled on that of Washington.

In fact, the parliamentary debate took place after a controversial trip this weekend to the Hebrew State of the president of the Assembly, the Macronist Yaël Braun-PivetWith Eric Ciottithe president of Los Republicanos (related to the PP), and Meyer Habib, the deputy of the French living in Israel and close to Likud (Netanyahu’s nationalist and conservative party). After expressing “unconditional support” on October 10, To the Israeli Government, Braun-Pivet said this time that “nothing should prevent Israel from defending itself,” despite the devastating Tsahal bombings that have already caused the death of more than 5,000 Palestinians. And he blamed Hamas for those deaths by using “civilians” as “human shields.”

The Braun-Pivet position symbolizes the alignment of a part of the macronism in favor of the Israeli Government and its harsh response to the bloody Hamas attacks on October 7. Heir to the Atlantic turn of Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-12), this position has generated certain discrepancies within French diplomacy. The quai d’Orsay fears a weakening of relations with other Arab countries. The Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonnahas distanced itself from the so-called “hawks” by the digital Mediapart —among them is Sylvain Maillard, president of the parliamentary group of Macron’s party. And in his statements he insists on moving towards a two-state solution.

“The voice of France is missing”

“Israel must cease its policy of colonization”, criticized the centrist Bourlangues, president of the Foreign Affairs commission. This MoDem representative suffered a slight dizziness at the end of his speech, one of the most interesting and worthy of him, but interrupted on several occasions by insults from the right-wing bench.

“The voice of France is missed,” he lamented the rebellious Mathilde Panot. “Our tears cannot be guided by a variable geometry. (…) We must mourn the victims of all war crimes”, both from Hamas and the Israeli Army, added the president of the parliamentary group of France Insoumise (FI, main party of the gauche). Although the position of the formation of Jean-Luc Melenchon Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it is more moderate than that of Podemos or Más País, and has generated numerous controversies in the last two weeks in France.

These controversies have been due to the refusal of the rebels to refer to Hamas as an “organization.” terrorist” and prefer to talk about “acts of terror” committed on October 7. Also to the fact of denouncing “all war crimes”, both those suffered by Israeli civilians and Palestinians. Some lexical differences that have not only generated rivers of ink in the French media – even with a cover of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in which he presented Mélenchon as a friend of Hamas—but have accentuated the discrepancies within the left-wing NUPES coalition. Composed of rebels, socialists, greens and communists, this alliance is going through its most delicate moment.

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The last of these controversies was due to a tweet that Mélenchon made on Sunday in which he criticized Braun-Pivet’s statements from Israel, reproaching him for having “camped in Tel Aviv” and contrasting them with the concentration in support of the Palestinian people that took place in the Place de la République in Paris, where between 15,000 people participated, according to the police, and more than 30,000, according to the organizers. Criticisms that, according to the president of Parliament – ​​granddaughter of a Polish Jew – have a connotation antisemitic, since the verb “camp” It is part of the same lexical family as “concentration camps”, according to his rather convoluted deduction.

“It is a ridiculous controversy. Soon, we will not be able to say anything,” lamented the rebellious deputy Arnaud Le Gall in statements to EL PERIÓDICO in the corridors of the Assembly. “There is currently a ideological battle in France on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” this representative added. A pulse between the Gaullo-Mitterrandian vision and the Atlanticist one that has been eclipsed by the succession of quarrels in the last two weeks.