French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in Jerusalem to attend a large Holocaust remembrance event, recently got involved in an altercation with Israeli security officers. While visiting the Church of Saint Anne, which belongs to the French government and is considered to be a French territory, Macron was filmed admonishing the security officers for apparently trying to follow him into the church. In the now-viral video Macron can be heard demanding the Israeli security to leave the Jerusalem basilica and saying 'I don't like what you did in front of me'.
In the video, one can hear Macron say, “Everybody knows the rules. I don't like what you did in front of me. Nobody has to provoke nobody. Go out -- outside, please! Please respect the rules, they are for centuries. They will not change with me, I can tell you”.
The Roman Catholic church dates back to the 12th century and was gifted to Napolean III by the Ottoman Sultan in 1856. France also views it as a provocation when Israeli police enter the church's sandstone complex. However, while speaking to an international media outlet, Macron described the incident as a 'moment of irritation' and further said that it ended pleasantly.
The Israeli police also reportedly said that the when Macron arrived at the church 'there was discussion' between both the nation's security officers about entering with the president and once the delegation finished the visit, the French President apologised and shook hands with the security personnel. According to reports, Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency also said that in accordance with the pre-established coordination of security arrangements, a police officer and an officer of the Shin Bet accompanied the french president and his men into the church.
The incident also reminded many of 1996 incident when late former President Jacques Chirac visited Jerusalem during which he also grew testy with Israeli security personnel who were urging him to move on. According to reports, Chirac refused to see armed men enter French territory. He further also declined to enter Saint Anne until Israeli police left.