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French president cancels visit to Israel again

French President Macron and Israeli PM Netanyahu - [Twitter]

President of France Emmanuel Macron has taken the highly unusual decision of cancelling a trip to Israel for a second time.

Last year Macron said he had planned to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in spring 2018 to voice French support for the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The trip was postponed to November but sources in Israel are reporting that the rescheduled trip has been postponed indefinitely without any explanation.

The failure of Paris to provide an explanation for the cancellation has led many to speculate on the reasons. Some say that the ongoing controversy surrounding an incident where Macron’s bodyguard was filmed assaulting May Day protesters is the reason for the cancellation.

READ: Macron’s embrace of Israel is a throwback to France’s imperial past

It is also possible that Macron’s decision was forced due to clashes in Gaza and a controversial Jewish Nation State Bill.

Some 155 Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces after they took part in the “Great March of Return” protests in the besieged Gaza Strip. The killings have been widely condemned across the world. Macron voiced his opposition to the Israeli aggression saying that the US transfer of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem sparked the deadly violence in Gaza and that it did not promote peace.

It’s also possible that the French decided against a trip to Israel in protest against the Jewish Nation State Bill, which critics say institutionalises apartheid. Meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel at this current moment would have been a sign that of French endorsement of racism and discrimination. The Likud leader is heading the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history. The current government includes members that have been denounced by former Israel prime minister Ehud Barak as “fascists.”

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