Daily US Times, Jerusalem: French President Macron has been involved in a shouting with the Israeli security officials in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Macron came to Jerusalem to attend a large Holocaust remembrance event on Thursday. He was visiting the Church of Saint Anne, which is believed to French territory.
The French President Macron was filmed admonishing the security officers for apparently trying to follow him into the church.
The Israeli police officers wanted to enter the Church. But the French security officers blocked them. During the exchanges between the two country’s security forces, Macron intervened.
“Everybody knows the rules”, Macron was shouting with Israeli security officers ”I don’t like what you did in front of me. Go outside!” Macron was shouting with Israeli security officers.”
“Please respect the rules, they are (in place) for centuries. They will not change with me, I can tell you,” Macron added during the heated exchange.
A spokeswoman from the Elysée Palace later confirmed it.
The spokeswoman said: “St. Anne belongs to France in Jerusalem. It is up to France to protect these places in this city. The Israeli security forces wanted to enter while security was being provided by French security services. The president reacted to an altercation between the Israeli and French security forces at the time of entering Saint Anne in order to end it, and to remind everyone of the rules that apply.”
In 1856, Ottoman Sultan gifted the 12th century Roman Catholic church to Napoleon III. Since then it is considered French belonging.
Israel described the dispute as ‘discussion’ between the two country’s forces. They said the visit passed off according to plan.
A joint police and Israel Security Agency (ISA) issued a statement later which said: “Based on the terms agreed upon ahead of time, an Israel Security Agency (ISA) guard and a policeman escorted the French president and his delegation inside.”
The statement claims president Macron had apologized about the incident once the delegation had concluded its visit to the church. But the French spokeswoman declined it to confirm. She said “I don’t know. I didn’t witness that moment.”
French does not acknowledge Israeli sovereignty over the Old City, as it lies in the eastern part of Jerusalem, which it regards as occupied territory.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its sovereign territory.