President Macron condemns France's collaboration in WWII Holocaust during Israeli PM's visit

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Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced France's collaboration in the Holocaust, lashing today at those who negate or minimise the country's role in sending tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths.

Macron called for the resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Source: Associated Press

After he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a Holocaust commemoration, Macron also appealed for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Worried that Netanyahu is backing away from commitment to a two-state solution, Macron assailed Jewish settlement construction as a threat to international hopes for peace.

Commemorating 75-years since a mass roundup of Jews during the darkest chapter of modern French history, Macron insisted that "it was indeed France that organised this".

"Not a single German" was directly involved, he said, but French police collaborating with the Nazis.

Holocaust survivors recounted wrenching stories at the ceremony at the site of Vel d'Hiv stadium outside Paris, where police herded some 13,000 people on July 16-17, 1942 before they were deported to camps. More than 4,000 were children. Fewer than 100 survived.

They were among some 76,000 Jews deported from France to Nazi camps.

It was a half century later when then-President Jacques Chirac became the first French leader to acknowledge the state's role in the Holocaust's horrors.

Netanyahu said that "recently we have witnessed a rise of extremist forces that seek to destroy not only the Jews, but of course the Jewish state as well, but well beyond that. ... The zealots of militant Islam, who seek to destroy you, seek to destroy us as well. We must stand against them together."

Pro-Palestinian and other activists protested Netanyahu's appearance in Paris, criticising Jewish settlement policy and the blockade of Gaza.

At his side, Netanyahu said, "We share the same desire for a peaceful Middle East," but didn't elaborate on eventual peace talks.

While Macron has been flexing his diplomatic skills with outreach to President Donald Trump and others, he didn't indicate any eagerness for France to spearhead such negotiations, after a lackluster French Mideast diplomatic effort under his predecessor early this year.

Macron and Netanyahu also discussed fighting extremism in Syria and elsewhere, and improving economic cooperation.

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