French PM Cancels Scheduled Trip to Israel

French PM Cancels Scheduled Trip to Israel
REUTERS / Charles PlatiauEurope15:40 23.05.2018Get short URL140

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has canceled his planned trip to Israel, which was set to start at the end of May, which immediately prompted speculations that the cancellation stems from France’s condemnation of developments in Gaza on the border with Israel.

The prime minister’s office announced that the cancellation of Philippe’s visit was due to some domestic policy matters to be managed to in the coming days. According to the Figaro newspaper, the new dates of Philip’s visit are not specified.

READ MORE: IDF: Israeli Air Force Hits Hamas Underground, Naval Targets in Gaza Strip

As the media outlet notes, the office of the prime minister did not confirm the cancellation was connected to the situation around killings of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

France’s prime minister was due to come to Israel on May 31 to open a cultural event promoting ties between the two countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his turn, is still scheduled to pay a reciprocal visit to France in June to meet with President Emmanuel Macron.

France is among those countries expressing strong disapproval over the killings of over 60 Palestinian protesters during a mass demonstration in Gaza in the wake of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14.

READ MORE: Israel Reportedly Bars Entry to Jerusalem for Gaza Residents During Ramadan

Paris condemned the US decision to relocate its diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling the Israeli actions in Gaza violation of the international law and urging Israe to show “good judgment and restraint in using force.”

On May 14, mass protests erupted in Gaza Strip in the light of the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel. The decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was made by US President Donald Trump in December 2017 and caused a wave of criticism not only in the Muslim world but in Europe as well.