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France-Israel Relations and the Iranian Nuclear Bomb

France-Israel Relations and the Iranian Nuclear Bomb

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Written by: Amb. Freddy Eytan.

France has earned Israel’s appreciation for delaying the signing of a bad agreement with Iran in Geneva.
Written by: Amb. Freddy Eytan.

France has earned Israel’s appreciation for delaying the signing of a bad agreement with Iran in Geneva.

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Published by: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Dec 08, 2013
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12/08/2013

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France-Israel Relations and the Iranian Nuclear Bomb
Written by: Amb. Freddy Eytan French President Francois Hollande arrived in Israel for an official state visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Sunday, bringing a promise to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, along with an ardent wish to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. From Hollande
’s perspective, the timing of this visit could not be better. The United States’
diminishing credibility and strategic grip within the Arab world has created a golden opportunity. Sunni friends loyal to Washington, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, are furious at President
Obama’s rush to sign a treaty with the ayatollah regime in Tehran, which would act to strengthen the
Shiite camp hostile to them. When it comes to resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, French policy is and always has been one-
sided in the Palestinians’ favor. This policy has not changed in four decades –
 ever since France first permitted the PLO to open an office in Paris and conducted official meetings with Yasser Arafat. Today, the policy is manifested in both economic and political support for Mahmoud Abbas,
most notably in France’s recognition of Palestine as a full member within most UN bodies, in contrast to
other Western countries. On Syria, as with the Iranian nuclear project, France has maintained a position that has been consistent, courageous, and more forceful than that of the U.S. or other Western states. Socialist France continues a foreign policy similar to that of its right-wing presidents Chirac and Sarkozy. Beginning back in the days of Charles de Gaulle, that policy was often unconventional and at odds with the consensus shared by NATO, the United States and the rest of Europe. France still sees itself as a military power capable of making fateful decisions regarding world peace. Recall that Sarkozy waged open war on Col. Muammar Khaddafi. President Hollande conducted a major military operation against Islamist terror in Mali and was prepared to participate in a strike against the Assad regime in
Syria at America’s side. Only at the last minute was the strike was called off when Russia’s Putin managed to prevent the West’s intervention.
 In view of the current tension and lack of trust between Paris and Washington, accentuated by the news of American surveillance on French government institutions, France may be seeking to
distinguish itself from Obama’s stance on Iran and the Arab world even further, while trying to increase
its influence in the Middle East, particularly within the Sunni states. France continues to supply weapons to the Gulf States and t
he French army has a base in Abu Dhabi. France’s ties with the Emirates, Qatar,
and Saudi Arabia have been further cemented in light of their firm opposition to Basher al-
Assad’s
regime in Syria.

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