At a time when all eyes are on Gaza, many Middle East experts, including the former French Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Gérard Araud and the former Vice-Chief of Staff of Shape (NATO) , General Michel Yakovleff, warn of the ongoing ethnic cleansing against Palestinians in the West Bank.
However, the West Bank is not under Hamas administration. No one can therefore invoke here the “right of Israel to defend itself against attacks by Hamas”. Those who try to justify the massacres of civilians in Gaza, by the atrocities committed against Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023, must therefore review their positions on Gaza and strongly and unreservedly condemn the ethnic cleansing taking place in the West Bank.
Indeed, extremist settlers, with the passive or active complicity of the Israeli army, are taking advantage of the situation in Gaza to intensify their violent expeditions in the West Bank where Palestinian civilians are being beaten in their homes before the eyes of their children.
Indiscriminate assassinations and brutality of all kinds against innocent civilians are committed daily, and sometimes in the middle of the night, with the aim of terrorizing civilian populations and forcing them to leave their homes and lands.
This worsening violence affects Muslims and Christians in the West Bank. The latter are subject to humiliation and pressure by extremist settlers who have even taken to the habit of literally spitting as they pass by. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, questioning the complicity of the Israeli police, declared, on November 16, 2023, that the Christian community of Jerusalem is facing the greatest existential threat in its 16 centuries of history.
These brutalities which affect Christians and Muslims indiscriminately demonstrate the imposture of those who exploit this tragedy for the benefit of their fallacious concept of “Judeo-Christian civilization” which would be opposed to Muslim civilization.
In France, the CFCM is concerned about the positions taken by certain French public figures who shamefully attempt to justify the unjustifiable. Those of the deputy (LR), Meyer Habib, are the perfect illustration of this. For too long he has repeated the rhetoric of extremist settlers: “a Jew will never be a settler in Judea (West Bank)”.
How can a French MP take up a position in violation of international law, contrary to France’s constant position? How can we leave unpunished a Member of the Nation who brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto our soil by adopting such extremist, illegal and dangerous positions?
Those who advocate terrorism or war crimes against unarmed Israeli civilians must be denounced and condemned. The same must be true for those who advocate terrorism and war crimes against unarmed Palestinian civilians.
The CFCM appeals to everyone. Our human conscience must lead us, whatever our beliefs and convictions, to oppose all the atrocities that are being committed today before our eyes.
Paris, November 20, 2023,
The French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM)