While the government of Emmanuel Macron has been fighting its own war on terror both domestically and in Africa, it has consistently condemned Jerusalem’s efforts to defend itself against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Tsilla Hershco comments:
During the May 2021 Gaza war, . . . France condemned the terrorist organization’s attacks on Israeli cities and expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense. At the same time, it demanded restraint from Israel on the alleged grounds that the violence was the product of a lack of political progress with the Palestinians, the (supposedly) provocative nature of Jewish communities in the West Bank, and the purported violation by Israel of the status quo in Jerusalem.
France feared that the events in Gaza would lead to violent demonstrations by French Muslims and an increase in anti-Semitic attacks on French Jews (as had occurred in previous rounds of war). Indeed, the French interior minister banned a demonstration by “supporters of Palestine in Paris” on May 14. Despite the ban, hundreds of French Hamas supporters gathered to demonstrate, refused police demands that they disperse, and attacked police officers with dangerous objects.
These events illustrate France’s vulnerability when dealing with growing pockets of poverty and crime, frequently in suburbs with a significant Muslim population. Obviously, the attempt to please Muslims in France by adopting a show of a “balanced” position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict does not solve the serious problems associated with the French republic’s relations with its Muslim population. Many Muslim immigrants, particularly of North African origin, have not integrated into French society and economy and are alienated from France. The growing influence of radical Islamists among French Muslims is reflected, inter alia, in the increase in the number of those who regard sharia law as above the laws of the French republic.