The National Assembly rejects the transformation of the France-Palestine study group into a friendship group

The office of the National Assembly, its highest collegial body, rejected on Wednesday May 15 the request to transform a France-Palestine study group into a “friendship group”, considering that its creation criteria were not not united, to the great dismay of the left and its president MoDem.

The Assembly already has within it a study group with an international vocation (GEVI) on Palestine, chaired by MoDem deputy Richard Ramos, and which brings together deputies from several benches. Mr. Ramos wanted it to be transformed into a friendship group like it exists for most states, including Israel.

These structures, which have a budget, can take diplomatic and cultural initiatives, particularly with foreign parliaments and parliamentarians, for example by traveling or by inviting foreign representatives and citizens to France.

“Historical error”

Mr. Ramos’ request was rejected by eleven votes to eight, in a context tense by the war between Israel and Hamas, and the threat of a major ground offensive in Rafah. The left voted for. The right and the far right were opposed to it, according to parliamentary sources, like most elected officials in the presidential camp. Mr. Ramos denounced a “historical error”.

The President of the Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, spoke out against it, the criteria governing the creation of a friendship group not being met according to her entourage: the existence of a Parliament in the State, recognition of the State by the UN and diplomatic relations with France.

The Palestinian Authority has a representative in France but “It’s been over seventeen years [2006] that there were no legislative elections, and Palestine is not recognized at the UN”argues a parliamentary source. “Parliament exists”and if there were no elections it is because“we cannot get our Israeli friends to vote in East Jerusalem”replied Mr. Ramos.

“Only a few days ago there was a vote by the French permanent delegation to the UN” for Palestinian accession, blocked by an American veto, recalled the ecologist Sabrina Sebaihi.

Another argument from some opponents of the measure is that GEVIs make it possible to conduct diplomatic initiatives similar to friendship groups. But Mr. Ramos pleads for a France-Palestine friendship group to come “work together” with the France-Israel group, for example to organize trips to Jerusalem. “In diplomacy you need symmetry of forms”he insisted.

He also regretted that two MoDem deputies voted against the friendship group on this close vote, while he assured that his political group spoke out yesterday “80% for” confirm the creation of this group.

“I made a personal decision but based on the law”replied Elodie Jacquier-Laforge, MoDem vice-president of the Assembly. “We wish to achieve a situation where Palestine will be recognized as a state with full rights at the UN, but our desire is unfortunately not a reality”.

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The World with AFP

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