France's Macron urges resumption of Mideast peace talks

Monday, 17 Jul, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced France's collaboration in the Holocaust, lashing out at those who negate or minimise the country's role in sending tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths.

Olivia Zemor, president of the Euro Palestine association, told the AP news agency on Saturday that "rolling out the red carpet" for someone she said violated worldwide conventions did not send the right signal and was "embarrassing". "Barbarity is here on the street corner", he said, apparently referring to attacks on Jews by young men of immigrant origin.

Two days after treating President Donald Trump to a Bastille Day parade, Emmanuel Macron welcomed yet another world leader - the Israeli prime minister - to Paris.

He confirmed France's long-held policy that favours a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital for the Palestinian state and Israel and said he would visit Israel "in the coming months", at the invitation of the Israeli prime minister.

"We share the same desire for a peaceful Middle East", Netanyahu added, but refused to make any specific commitments on a potential presumption of peace negotiations.

In his speech at the ceremony, at the Shoah Memorial in Paris, President Macron declared: "I repeat it here: it is indeed France that organized the raid", recognizing in turn France's responsibility in this drama.

After the ceremony, Netanyahu and Macron headed to the Elysee palace for their first formal working meeting.

When the war ended, he received a certificate that described his parents as "disappeared".

He did not indicate any eagerness for France to spearhead such negotiations after a fruitless French diplomatic effort early this year. Many were sent on to Auschwitz concentration camp and fewer than 100 people survived. I am here today to tell all French Jews and Jews around the world "Never Again.' We fought against the Vichy government and its bad actions. They try to destroy us, but also they try to destroy you".

A memorial to the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, on Quai de Grenelle in Paris.

Netanyahu will travel Monday from Paris to Budapest, for meetings with the leaders of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He called for unity among Jews and on people who consider withholding donations to Israel over the decision to "return to their senses".