France’s Le Pen brings Israeli-Palestinian conflict into presidential campaign. SOURCE: AL-MONITOR Daily Briefing

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France’s Le Pen brings Israeli-Palestinian conflict into presidential campaign

Head of French far-right National Rally party and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen explains how she sees future relations between her country and the Middle East, should she be elected.

Marine Le Pen (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron.

This combination of file pictures created on April 12, 2022, shows the leader of French far-right party Rassemblement National and candidate for the French presidential elections Marine Le Pen, on Dec. 2, 2021, and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Oct. 10, 2019. – JULIEN DE ROSA, CHARLES PLATIAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Image

Rina Bassist

April 19, 2022

PARIS — Throughout her years in politics, foreign relations have not been the strong suit of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who face a run off with incumber President Emmanuel Macron on April 24.

Addressing the press on April 14 to expose her foreign relations guidelines, the head of the far-right National Rally party dedicated more than 20 minutes of the one-hour-long session to explaining how she sees future relations between France and the Middle East.

Le Pen faces an uphill battle when it comes to defining her foreign policy outlook. French President Emmanuel Macron has been active in foreign policy during his nearly five years as president. In particular he has carved out his own roles within NATO and the European Union, and taken a special interest in Lebanon and the Middle East more broadly. Macron was the first Western head of state to visit Beirut following the devastating port explosion in August of 2020 and is deeply engaged in the reconstruction efforts. He has also worked with Saudi Arabia last year on a joint initiative to end the diplomatic row between Beirut and several Gulf states. 

France is also a member of the P5+1 countries in negotiations with Iran on resuming the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Here’s what LePen had to say on various Middle East topics:

Lebanon:

  • “Speaking about privileged relations, there is first of all Lebanon, which is dear to my heart. It will constitute one of my priorities,” said Le Pen. Still, she emphasized that “our desire to help stabilize Lebanon does not reduce in any way our commitment to friendly ties with Israel. On the contrary. We will support rapprochement between the two states.” Le Pen noted that the problem of Iran instrumentalizing Hezbollah could only be resolved in talks with Israel, Iran, Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican.

The two-state solution:

  • “I will remain loyal to the official policy of our Foreign Ministry, namely for France to continue being engaged in favor of the two-state solution. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be resolved only through the creation of a Palestinian state independent, viable and democratic, living in peace and security alongside Israel,” said Le Pen. In a prior interview with the Israeli press, Le Pen had noted that she believes only direct dialogue between the sides could bring about peace.  

Jerusalem:

  • In the framework of the two-state solution, Jerusalem should be the capital of both states, said Le Pen. “Until this is resolved internationally,

The current wave of terror facing Israelis:

  • “I am very sensitive to any manifestation of terror, and I quickly expressed my solidarity with the Israeli people, victims of a wave of terror attacks,” noted Le Pen

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