French President Emmanuel Macron during an international humanitarian conference for the civilian population in Gaza, at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France, 09 November 2023. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MEO


French ambassadors in Muslim nations rebel against Macron’s ‘pro-Israeli shift’


Ten French ambassadors in the Middle East have written to President Macron to oppose his “pro-Israeli” stance in the Israel-Hamas war.

Macron shows signs of bending under the pressure, both within his government and on the street. On Friday, he criticised Israel for causing an excessive number of civilian casualties, saying Israel should “stop killing women and babies” in Gaza.

By siding with Israel, Macron has caused “serious” and “long-lasting” damage to Arab Middle Eastern countries’ trust in France, the ambassadors say.

Some French ambassadors say they have been denied access to decision makers in the countries where they are stationed, while one reports receiving death threats.

Arab governments “feel that we are betraying ourselves; they believe that our discourse based on humanism is in contradiction with our new approach. For them, France with its alternative voice no longer exists,” says the letter.

The letter represents an “unprecedented collective step on the part of French ambassadors in the Middle East”, according to former diplomats.

Large groups have protested in front of French embassies in Arab countries.

French diplomacy met previous difficulties in the region when French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2020.

The Quai d’Orsay downplays the importance of the letter, saying it receives “many others” and it is instead “the political authorities elected by the French (…) who decide on France’s foreign policy”, says Le Figaro.

France is using its influence “wisely”, government spokesman Olivier Véran argued Tuesday morning on France Inter.

A humanitarian conference for Gaza, hosted in Paris, saw large sums of money promised for the Palestinians, including €100 million in French humanitarian aid to Gaza.