Can France play a role in what’s happening in Gaza?

Nothing remains of France’s Arab policy except memory and confusion. The latest reports are about France’s stance on what is happening in Gaza and the aggression it has suffered, with French President Emmanuel Macron – in French parlance – making hot and cold statements in the Gaza Strip. He said something that would please Israelis in Israel and said the idea of ​​an international coalition against Hamas was not taken seriously once it was raised.

He dared to visit Ramallah, Amman and Cairo, something no Western president had done before him, and he said something on the BBC channel that satisfied a common feeling in the Western world about the need to stop fighting and stop targeting civilians. and his call to Netanyahu to apologize for misinterpreting his remarks. Unlike de Gaulle’s famous saying, “He solved the complex problems of the Middle East with simple ideas,” President Macron solved the increasingly complex problems of the Middle East with unclear, confusing and unproductive ideas.

It is important not to hold the French president responsible for apparent failures, but perhaps to extract France’s Arab policy from the womb of the state structure or establishment, both in its historical dimensions and in the pioneering role it seeks in the world in the making. France can influence the course of events and be involved, but according to a new vision and a new approach. Firstly for its own benefit, secondly for the benefit of the Palestinians and thirdly for the benefit of the region. Why not to the whole world!

French President Emmanuel Macron (French media)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the media during the summit of leaders of the European Union and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States in Brussels, Belgium, July 18, 2023. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

France has a rich Arab policy, which in general can be said to be balanced, even positive, including: France’s position on the 1967 war, and de Gaulle’s famous remarks about Israel, which the Israelis did not forgive him for, and hardly Translated into Arabic: “This self-righteous, tyrannical people.” France embraced Yasser Arafat when he uttered his famous sentence in French about the organization’s charter at the Institute of the Arab World in Paris (1990) , all of these were President Chirac’s stance on the 2003 Iraq war, and, before that, then-French Foreign Minister Dominique Villepin’s speech to the Security Council.

This was perhaps the golden age of French Arab policy. The Alliance for the Mediterranean project initiated by Nicolas Sarkozy died. Apart from bilateral policies with partners, France’s sales of weapons, perfumes, investments, or the Sorbonne University in some Gulf areas and the Louvre Museum in France. , there is nothing anymore. country, whose policies fluctuate across the Maghreb region.

France could play a role beyond the United States, perhaps on the scene of events in a world that was taking shape. If France wants to regain its weight in the new world balance, it must implement a balancing policy in the Middle East, which is the gateway for France to play a role in the world.

French President Macron’s Arab policy lacks not only vision but also style, making contradictory and provocative statements such as saying: “Islam is in crisis,” as well as rushing to dialogue with Al Jazeera to correct his mistakes and claiming that history The need for reconciliation. About Algeria and the statement he received at the Elysée Palace to students of Algerian origin, about whether the question of the existence of the Algerian nation should be raised and his solutions in the absence of the national authorities after the Beirut port explosion (August 2021) to the residents of Beirut, to his direct address to the people of Morocco. After the Houze earthquake.

As French magazine Le Point described it, Macron’s style is in trouble. A person may have good intentions, but, as the French proverb goes, “Hell is paved with good intentions.”

French diplomacy must be saved, and the first thing to be saved is arbitrary statements without in-depth analysis by experts, experts and people of insight. Conversely, on matters related to diplomatic work, statements should be avoided until the path or direction has matured.

There is no doubt that the head of state plays a role in setting the diplomatic direction of a country and shaping its diplomacy, but the foreign policy of a democratic country is also influenced by the direction maintained by public institutions, such as defence, foreign affairs, etc. The intelligence services and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs…are at the center and through their representative bodies around the world.

The purpose of this article is not to engage in the “Franco-French” dialogue about France’s role in the Middle East, which is carried out through content circulating in the columns of some right-leaning newspapers such as Le Pointe and Le Figaro, but rather my The concern here is that France should develop an Arab policy so that there is no room for actors. Today, we see the results of the “peace process” launched by France since the Madrid Conference in 1991.

The United States did not play the role of an “honest mediator” as it represented, nor did it respect the demand for “land for peace.” Instead, what the U.S. government must refer to is the Abraham Accords. Paying lip service to the “two-state solution” and turning the conflict into a mere conflict. real estate, the Palestinians reach an agreement and receive a “return” price in the form of a polite transfer; believe that time, fatigue and “realism” will prompt the Palestinians to “reflect” and leave willingly with the material and moral support of the “brothers” Palestine or what is left of it.

This is the U.S. policy framework for “solving” the Palestinian problem, not in the sense of finding a solution but in eliminating it, emptying it, like dismantling a company or a political party in the name of realism. The “Aqsa Flood” destroyed all this and weakened the role of the United States, especially after it became fully aligned with the aggressor.

France could play a role beyond the United States, perhaps on the scene of events in a world that was taking shape. If France is to regain its weight in the new world balance, it must develop a balancing policy in the Middle East, the gateway to its role in the world.

Of course, the issue is not just about stating intentions, but when formulating a well-thought-out policy, it is more about analysis and less about announcing, and depends on the maturity of the path, by listening to the relevant parties and engaging with regional actors. Coordinate. France is a Western country and I would say that it will adopt a balanced Arab policy. I find it pointless to look for it in Washington, London or Berlin, for reasons that are well known and have recently become clear.

The door before France should not be closed, because it is the only country in the West that can (I forgot about Spain, but Spain does not have a seat in the Security Council, despite its historical and geographical credibility) respect the concerns of the Palestinian people and seek a just, lasting and comprehensive solutions.

But France’s historical merits will not be enough, unless France reconsiders its internal newspapers, or, as the French would say, its test papers. Foreign policy is a continuation of domestic policy, France cannot play a role in the Middle East and the Arab world, but in the Islamic world, and its internal policy is to keep a check on its Muslim citizens – (from the Inquisition), to keep track of them. Clothes, food and freedom.

An effective French role in the Middle East is important for France, but also for Palestinians and Arabs. France can only find strategic depth in the Arab world and Africa.

There was a rift of distrust between France and the United States; as soon as the United States gained independence from Britain with the support of French revolutionaries and the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment, the rebellious son returned to the embrace of his motherland and became its heir. To Americans, France represents what everyone with power admires: the recognition of debt. Will France seize the historical opportunities that history may not have provided, stay true to its traditions, values ​​and history, and play its role in the Middle East as justice and fairness require?

Rishi Sunak attends G7 summit in Hiroshima
U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron (Getty)

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