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Thursday, October 26, 2006

French flip

The European Jewish Press reported yesterday that French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy had an epiphany last week and announced that he has changed his opinion on Israel's controversial 'separation barrier' in light of its drastic effect on terror (80% reduction).

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs
“I have significantly evolved on the matter of the separation fence” said Douste-Blazy on French Jewish television TFJ on Thursday. “Although the wall was a moral and ethical problem for me, when I realised terror attacks were reduced by 80 percent in the areas where the wall was erected, I understood I didn’t have the right to think that way.”

Douste-Blazy is the first high ranking French official to openly state his support for the security fence.


Douste-Blazy’s unexpected comments induced the government to clarify its position on the wall.

“The question, for us, concerns the route of the fence rather than its mere existence,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei on Friday. “We recognise, of course, Israel’s right to defend itself from terror, but the route of the separation fence must not overlap Palestinian territory and prejudge the final solution.”

“We are keeping a wary eye on the situation,” added Mattei.

French government spokesman Jean-François Cope confirmed the statement on Sunday in an interview on Radio J.

“The route itself is not in question,” said Cope “it would be stupid to question Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Hamas vigorously criticised the French FM after his statement:

“It is the Palestinian nation which is suffering from the separation fence, not the French nation,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “Our nation is paying a high price for the separation and he [Douste-Blazy] must understand that the wall is the symbol of racial segregation and isolation.”
Cope's statement sounds even more positive than Mattei's. Maybe the French are anticipating needing their own fence to keep certain elements in the Parisian suburbs out of the center city?


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