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France is trying to rebalance its diplomatic position regarding the conflict

In recent days, France has announced a series of humanitarian gestures for the Palestinian population of Gaza. Paris notably offers hospitalization for injured or sick Gazan children in French establishments. At the same time, Emmanuel Macron is sending increasingly urgent messages to the Israeli Prime Minister concerning civilian victims and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

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After the Hamas attacks on October 7, the French position of support for Israel raised concerns, including among French diplomats. During his last telephone interview with Benyamin NetanyahuEmmanuel Macron spoke of “ too many civilian casualties » in Gaza. He insisted on the “ absolute necessity to distinguish terrorists and population “, and was also concerned about the increase in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

Will these words make us forget the trouble caused by the first declarations of France and its leaders after the Hamas attacks? In a note that RFI was able to obtain, the French ambassadors stationed in the Middle East warn: France has given the impression of a “ unconditional support for Israel “, and she did not call for an immediate ceasefire.

Need a “ strong speaking »

Positions « perceived negatively in the region », write the French diplomats, who speak of a “ ditch being dug » between France and the opinions of Arab countries. The authors of the text even fear an increased threat for French nationals in the region, and for diplomatic representations.

They suggest “ strong speaking, explaining and reinforcing » France’s positions in the face of the current conflict. This is good attempt at rebalancing which the phrases recently appearing in French speech seem to indicate.

A fluctuation deemed “ not very readable »

Contacted by RFI, several French diplomats confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that the positions expressed by leaders – starting with Emmanuel Macron – in the days following the October 7 attack seemed to indicate ” a change in the French position » which was then “ rebalanced “. A fluctuation deemed “ not very readable » by one of these diplomats.

Several of these diplomats also told us of their amazement upon discovering Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to appeal to the international coalition formed against the Islamic State group so that it could also fight Hamas.

The French President formulated it during his trip to Israel at the end of October, then quickly put the idea behind him. Questioned separately about this brief sequence, several French diplomats summarized it in the same way: “ It was nonsense. »

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