Protesters in the French capital have criticised President Emmanuel Macron for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Paris, condemning the Israeli settlement policy and the blockade of Gaza. Olivia Zemor, president of the EuroPalestine association, told the AP news agency on Saturday that “rolling out the red carpet” to someone she said violated international conventions did not send the right signal and was “embarrassing”. “We called for this protest, we protest Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to Netanyahu and his rolling out of the red carpet to a criminal, a torturer – the torture of men and children exists – a land thief, to someone who does not respect international law and human rights, which is embarrassing,” she said.
Yassine Blicqy, 19-year-old protester from Valenciennes, said: “I hope that France, in the next few years or even decades, will choose justice and will side with the oppressed peoples because that’s what France is about. It’s not oppression, it’s freedom and human rights, it’s diversity and equality, and we must give an example.” Macron invited Netanyahu to take part in a commemoration on Sunday of a mass deportation of French Jews to Nazi camps 75 years ago. The event commemorates one of the most shameful moments of French collaboration with the Nazis. On 16-17 July 1942, French police rounded up about 13,000 Jews, including about 4,000 children, around Paris and herded them into the Vel d’Hiv cycling stadium before they were sent to camps. Fewer than 100 survived.