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‘Go outside’: France’s Macron berates Israeli police at Jerusalem church


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‘Go outside’: France’s Macron berates Israeli police at Jerusalem church

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionEmmanuel Macron: “I’m sorry, but we know the rules. Nobody has to provoke nobody”French President Emmanuel Macron has confronted Israeli police during a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem.Mr Macron accused officers of violating rules that prevent them from entering the Crusader-era Church of St Anne,…

‘Go outside’: France’s Macron berates Israeli police at Jerusalem church

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionEmmanuel Macron: “I’m sorry, but we know the rules. Nobody has to provoke nobody”

French President Emmanuel Macron has confronted Israeli police during a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Mr Macron accused officers of violating rules that prevent them from entering the Crusader-era Church of St Anne, which is considered French territory.

“I don’t like what you did in front of me. Go outside, please,” he warned them in English. “Nobody has to provoke.”

The incident was reminiscent of one involving the late French President Jacques Chirac in the 1990s.

Mr Macron is in Jerusalem to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, which is marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The Church of St Anne, which dates back to 1138, is the best-preserved Crusader church in Jerusalem. According to Christian tradition, the crypt enshrines the home of the Virgin Mary and her parents.

It is located in occupied East Jerusalem, to the north of the hilltop site known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

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AFP

Image caption

The Church of St Anne in Jerusalem’s Old City is considered French territory

The French flag has flown over the Church of St Anne since the Ottoman Turks presented it as a gift to France in 1856 as a gesture of gratitude for aid in the Crimean War.

Videos circulated on Wednesday showed Mr Macron standing in an archway leading to the church, surrounded by French and Israeli security personnel.

The president is seen gesturing at an Israeli police officer in uniform and saying in a raised voice: “I don’t like what you did in front of me. Go outside, please.”

He continued: “I’m sorry, but we know the rules. Nobody, nobody has to provoke, nobody. We keep calm.”

He then tells a plainclothes security officer: “We had a wonderful walk. You did a great job in the city. I do appreciate it guys.

“Please respect the rules as they are for centuries. They will not change with me. I can tell you, OK?”

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The Israeli foreign ministry declined to comment on the incident.

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AFP

Image caption

Jacques Chirac also had a run-in with Israeli security personnel in Jerusalem

During a visit to the Church of St Anne in 1996 Mr Chirac became angry when Israeli security personnel shoved Palestinians, journalists and aides with him.

Also speaking in English, he asked them: “What do you want? Me to go back to my plane and go back to France? Is that what you want? Let them go. Let them go.”

The Israeli government – led then, as it is now, by Benjamin Netanyahu – apologised to Mr Chirac, saying it had been done “to protect a friend”.

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