French President Emmanuel Macron showed Wednesday that he continues to take a flaky approach to international diplomacy.
Shortly after the then-39-year-old took office last year, he decided that the best way to establish his seriousness as an international player was by squeezing President Donald Trump’s hand super-duper hard during their first meeting, which took place at a NATO conference in May 2017.
Shortly after the white-knuckled handshake, which went viral on social media, Gerard Araud, France’s ambassador to Washington said that ahead of his meeting with Trump, Macron took the time to study videos of Trump’s handshakes so that he would be able to get the best of him when the two men met.
This was a reasonable use of his time, he thought, because apparently, in Macron’s mental universe, the best way to get ahead as the President of France is to show the U.S. President that you will not hesitate to squeeze his fingers as hard as you possibly can.
Macron’s skillful diplomacy and fine judgment was on display once again on Tuesday. Standing next to visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron decided that the best way to prove his importance was by attacking Trump.
This time Macron didn’t do it by physically assaulting him on live TV. Instead, Macron chose to blame Trump for the lethal consequences of Hamas’s three-month-old terror operation against Israel along the Gaza-Israel border.
Some 110 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces deployed along Israel’s border with Gaza to protect Israel from Hamas penetration and terror. Hamas has acknowledged that at least half of the fatalities were its terrorists.
In the framework of this ongoing operation, Hamas buses hundreds of non-combatants to the border to serve as human cannon fodder. Hamas terrorists, interspersed among the crowds, use civilian cover to launch various types of assaults against Israel. These assaults have included border infiltration, mortar and rocket attacks, Molotov cocktails, and destruction of sections of the border fence.
Over the past week, the center of Hamas’s efforts against Israel moved to environmental terrorism. Hamas terrorists have launched hundreds of kites carrying Molotov cocktails and other incendiary devices across the border. Thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves have been scorched.
Standing next to Netanyahu on Tuesday, Macron ignored all of that. He alleged that Hamas’s violent assault against Israel is a consequence of Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, on May 14. Macron claimed that the embassy move provoked violence and did not promote peace.
In his words, “If this leads to people dying it’s not a celebration.”
Macron’s statement was not an isolated attack. Speaking at a conference in St. Petersburg on May 25, he called the embassy move “an error,” and said that the U.S. could no longer be considered an honest mediator in future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Last week, France voted in favor of a Kuwaiti-sponsored draft resolution at the UN Security Council which called for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to produce a written report within 60 days on ways to ensure “the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.”
That draft resolution failed to mention Hamas by name or note that Israel removed its military from Gaza 12 years ago. It failed to mention that Hamas has controlled all aspects of life in Gaza since 2007. After ignoring basic realities of life in Gaza, the draft resolution instructed the Secretary General to include recommendations about “an international protection mechanism” for the Palestinians against Israel in his written report.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who vetoed the resolution, called it “grossly one-sided and morally bankrupt.”
The U.S. presented its own resolution on Gaza, which condemned Hamas for its role in fomenting and escalating the violence along Gaza’s border with Israel for the past two and a half months.
Haley cast the lone vote in the resolution’s favor.
Last week wasn’t the first time Haley was forced to veto a Security Council draft resolution.
Last December she vetoed a draft Security Council resolution demanding that Trump rescind his decision to recognize that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and move the embassy to the city. France and the other Security Council members, including Britain, voted in favor of the measure.
That brings us back to Macron’s accusing Trump of responsibility for Palestinian deaths.
One of the notable aspects of Hamas’s border surge is that, by design, it has no chance of achieving its declared goal of destroying Israel or even of causing significant damage to Israel.
True, Hamas has managed to burn thousands of trees and entire crop harvests. It has forced Israelis in southern Israel to repeatedly run for cover in bomb shelters. It has cost the Israeli economy tens of millions of shekels in damages. And it will likely manage to accomplish more of the same before Israel figures out a way to stop the fire kites in midair and send them back to Gaz,a or stops trying to be nice to Hamas and sets up a kilometer-wide security perimeter on the Gaza side of the border.
But for all the destruction and disruption the terror group has caused, and continues to cause, Hamas hasn’t come close to achieving its declared goal of invading Israel. Its terrorists will not seize Israeli territory. They will not conquer or seriously harm border communities.
So what’s the point?
Why is Hamas sending Palestinian women and children to serve as human shields for its terrorists with their futile attacks on Israel?
Hamas is operating this way for the same reason it always launches operations with no chance of defeating Israel but absolutely ensure that Palestinians will die.
The point of the current Hamas doomed-to-fail offensive against Israel is not for Hamas to achieve its aims. Hamas is burning forests and wheat fields while standing women and children in front of terrorists in the hopes that they are killed because it trusts that one or more egotistical, European man-children will achieve its goals for it.
Hamas assumes that sooner or later, some European leader (or many European leaders) will adopt the condescending pose they love so much and announce self-righteously that Israel must act with restraint or the Palestinians will have no choice other than to kill Israelis.
Macron probably believes that by siding with Hamas – a group that even the EU recognizes is a terrorist organization – against Israel and the U.S. he will win points at home and establish himself as Europe’s power player in its relations with Israel and America.
He may well be right about that. Since Charles De Gaulle’s presidency, France has built its international standing by adopting a passive-aggressive, bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you stance towards Washington.
But while Macron’s actions are of a piece with a long tradition of French anti-Americanism, as well as France’s long record of support for terrorist groups and rogue regimes in the Middle East in their wars against Israel and Jews, it’s pretty clear that Macron’s actions are not cost free. Indeed, they are downright dangerous.
Macron accused Trump of harming the prospects of peace by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. But whereas it is not at all clear that Trump’s move had anything at all to do with Hamas’s by then two-month-old border campaign against Israel, it is absolutely clear that Macron’s support for Hamas against Israel (and against the U.S.) promotes further terror, death, and war.
By standing with Hamas, and demanding that Israel curtail its efforts to secure its territory from Hamas, Macron is guaranteeing that Hamas aggression will continue and grow. Macron is ensuring that more Palestinian civilians will be shuttled to the border to serve as cannon fodder. He is ensuring the survival of the Hamas terror regime in Gaza. He is ensuring that Hamas will never disarm, but rather will continue to receive arms and orders from Iran.
After all, why should Hamas abandon its goal of annihilating Israel and agree to adopt Macron’s position that there should be a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict when France’s young statesman president with an aggressive handshake is serving as its mouthpiece to the world?
As for Iran, Tuesday, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that last month Palestinian ambassador to France Salman al-Harfi told French government officials that Hamas’s border campaign is fully funded and directed by Iran.
In other words, when Macron accused Trump of responsibility for the deaths Hamas has caused, and so sided with Hamas against Israel and the U.S., he was actually aiding and abetting Iran’s efforts to achieve regional hegemony through its terror proxies. And he knew what he was doing.
But then again, Macron sure showed Trump who is boss with that handshake. And Ambassador Haley looked really scared of the French ambassador when she vetoed the French-supported Kuwaiti draft resolution condemning Israel for defending its territory from Hamas at the Security Council last week.