Jan 22, 2020 – swissinfo.ch
By John Irish
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – “Go outside,” French President Emmanuel Macron demanded in English in a melee with Israeli security men on Wednesday, demanding they leave a Jerusalem basilica that he visited before a Holocaust memorial conference.
The French tricolour has flown over the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem’s walled Old City since it was gifted by the Ottomans to French Emperor Napoleon III in 1856.
France views it as a provocation when Israeli police enter the church’s sandstone complex, in a part of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Wednesday’s incident was a case of deja vu all over again. In 1996, former President Jacques Chirac lost patience with Israeli security agents at the same church, telling one of them that his treatment was a “provocation” and threatening to get back on his plane.
Chirac refused to enter St. Anne until Israeli security left the site.
Video showed Macron, jostled in the centre of a crowded circle between his own protective detail and Israeli security personnel, including several paramilitary policemen in uniform, under an archway leading into the church.
Macron then stopped the shoving and shouted at the Israeli security guards in English: “I don’t like what you did in front of me.”
Lowering his voice, he then said: “Go outside. I’m sorry, you know the rules. Nobody has to provoke nobody.”
(Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)