Who are You Calling “Pro-Palestinian”?

Posted by John Rosenthal

(Note: For background, see "Franco-Israeli Détente?".)

Le Monde devoted the editorial in its weekend edition (dated 31 July-1 August) to Ariel Sharon’s visit to Paris and, like myself or Emmanuel of Politique arabe de la France, attempted to decipher the reasons for the apparent softening of the French line toward Israel. According to the editors of Le Monde, the "essential reason" lies in the "image" that France has in Israel of being "a partisan country – systematically pro-Palestinian – and even anti-Semitic." This "image" is, the unsigned editorial continues, "largely a caricature" – or rather "of course [bien sûr] largely a caricature" – but it is "the Israeli perception" and this perception must be changed if France is to have influence in Middle East diplomacy.

Apparently without intended irony, the editorial concludes:

To mediate, one has to have the confidence of all the parties. From this point of view, the new tone between Paris and Jerusalem is good news for the Palestinians.

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