No - this isn't Gaza.
It's the Barbès neighborhood of Paris, a
part of the city of
largely North African immigrants, days ago.
Gaza and MH17: France Pays the Price for its Moribund Diplomacy
(Le Figaro, France)
"'Pro-Palestinian' riots offer a measure of the failure to
assimilate large segments of France's Muslim population. It is time to
proactively respond to the domestic consequences and with both hands, commit
ourselves fully to the search for a way to stabilize the Middle East. ... The Mistral
affair (sale of assault ships to Russia) gives France a special responsibility.
Rather than put us in a position that will soon be untenable with respect to
our allies, could this supply of arms, the symbolic significance of which is obvious,
not serve as a means of leverage? Shouldn't Russia be impelled, in return for
reasonable guarantees, to stop arming the separatists?"
crash of a Malaysian Airlines flight shot down by a missile over east
Ukraine and the Israeli offensive against Hamas in Gaza shows that European
countries can no longer pretend to be sheltered from multiplying nearby conflicts.
recently, Europe considered itself an impregnable haven of prosperity and
stability. It could only be the envy of its neighbors. The force of its example
served as its foreign policy. The crisis in the eurozone
sounded the death knell of this golden age. Shaken by the financial markets,
the Union has lost its powers of seduction. But its fragility is not only
economic. It is also at the mercy of an inexorably deteriorating international
environment. On its borders, the effects of destabilization in the east and south
are now being felt in the very heart of every country on the continent.
emotions provoked by the deaths of 211 European passengers (out of a total of
298), mostly Dutch, on Flight MH17 from Amsterdam, bring the reality
of civil war taking hold in Ukraine much closer. Whatever the precise responsibilities of
the parties to this drama, no-one can ignore, or even minimize, the conflict
between pro-Russian and pro-Western sides at the gates of Europe. At the very
least, we urgently need to find a solution that goes beyond the imposition of
sanctions on the Kremlin, decided on reluctantly for lack of a better option.
A man carries an injured protester at the subway station at Place
de La Republique, Paris, during a banned demonstration, July 26.
the same way, riots in Barbès [a district of Paris
near the Gare du Nord railway station, mainly
inhabited by immigrants from North Africa] and Sarcelles [Northern suburb of
Paris, which is home to a large Jewish community] confirm how close the
Israel-Palestinian conflict is to us. The deadlock in the Middle East has long been
influenced by the more radical elements of the Muslim community. Every outbreak
of violence there, always for the same reasons, raises strong ethnic tensions
in France, the country with the greatest number of Jews and Muslims in Europe.
is of little consequence that Hamas Islamists target Israeli citizens while taking
hostage the population of Gaza. The violent response of the Tsahal
is a pretext for an outburst of hate that only serves the architects of radicalization
in the suburbs and troubled districts of Paris. It is pointless to assert that
the Israel-Palestine conflict "mustn't be imported," as François
Hollande announced on July 14. The damage was already done long ago.
terrorist and anti-Semitic acts committed by Mohamed Merah in Toulouse [three gun attacks targeting French troops and
Jewish civilians in March, 2012] and MehdiNemmouche in Brussels [a
French Algerian suspected of killing 4 people in an attack on the Jewish Museum
there last May] are part of this galloping "importation" of Middle East
conflicts. They are a reminder of how absurd it is to believe that Europe is removed
from the chaos spreading from Libya to Iraq via Syria, where thousands of jihadists,
coming from this side of the Mediterranean, are rampant. Like the attacks, but
in a more coordinated manner, the "pro-Palestinian" riots offer a
measure of the failure to assimilate large segments of France's Muslim
population. It is time to proactively respond to the domestic consequences and
with both hands, commit ourselves fully to the search for a way to stabilize
the Middle East, which would clearly favor the battle against the radical
Posted By Worldmeets.US
Israel-Palestine conflict is no longer as central as it could have been for the
future of the region, but what is happening in Gaza shows that it has lost none
of its capacity to spark the powder keg. No one can be reproached for not imposing
a peace agreement, but having abandoned all efforts to bring the two parties
together to find a path toward peace worthy of the name is a heavy
responsibility for European and French diplomats. Finding such a path could
only help undermine the fundamentalists.
Gazans look out from what was their home the
day before, June 25.
diplomatic inertia is widespread. It is also evident in relations with Moscow.
If the adoption of European sanctions against the Kremlin at the behest of
Washington may sow seeds of doubt in Moscow, it also has its limitations.
Should we not do more to find an agreement acceptable to both Russia and
Mistral affair [amphibious assault ships France is selling to Russia] gives
France a special responsibility. Rather than put us in a position that will
soon be untenable with respect to our allies, could this supply of arms, the
symbolic significance of which is obvious, not serve as a means of leverage? For
example, shouldn't Russia be impelled, in return for reasonable guarantees, to
stop arming the separatists? Again, the solution is far from simple. We ought to show we are committed to seeking a solution. That
is what is expected of French diplomacy.
is no problem that an absence of solution won't solve in the long run."
This famous aphorism by "little father Queuille" [Henri Queuille, a French radical socialist politician and
French official from 1920 to 1954] seems to have become our foreign policy's common
currency. This applies equally to the Israeli-Arab conflict and relations with
Russia. In both cases, national interests are at stake, and without France
being able to stake out a clear position. This wait-and-see approach is not protecting
us from the perils of this world.