Each week "The Parisien"
gives someone a chance to speak. Today it is Hubert Védrine,
Minister of Foreign Affairs.
What do you think of the
new surge of violence in the Middle East?
Hubert Védrine: The
usual strategy of Ariel Sharon to handle the problem with repression
is a dead end. It does not even guarantee security for the Israelis.
Our objective remains the creation of a viable Palestinian state.
The more viable it is, the more peaceful and democratic it will
be. Unfortunately, things have moved in the opposite direction.
I'm not saying Sharon should be prevented from fighting terrorism
-- it is his right, and I would even say his duty. But we must
convince him to stop posing impossible conditions for the opening
of political negotiations.
Do you see signs of hope?
Yes. At the center
of the Israelian society, questions are being raised in the political
circles, in the peace camp, even in the army itself. Maybe they
will result in a change of politics. We encourage it very strongly.
Sharon denounces a rising
anti-semitism in France...
That shocks me because it isn't true. The government is implacably
determined to fight against all forms of racism and anti-semitism.
Such acts are evidently still too numerous, but there are fewer
now than there were before. This denounciation is moreover so
erroneous that many directors of Jewish institutions in France
have sought to bring things back into perspective. I think of
Théo Klein, previous president of the Crif, who has said
that in the same measure where we find normal that the French
Jews have an instinctive solidarity for Israel, we must not blow
out of proportion the fact that those of immigrant blood have
some sympathy for the Palestinien cause. Still others, like Roger
Cukierman (current president of the Crif), judge Sharon's words
exaggerated. France is not anti-semitic. The Israeli government
is only trying to boost immigration. In any case, we will not
accept the idea that antagonism between communities is being
encouraged in our country.
Answers gathered by Henri Vernet
Translated by David Sadegh