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France

French press review 19 September 2018

media

Twenty-five years after the Oslo peace agreement, what remains of the first great move towards peace between Palestinians and Israelis? Why were there no McDonald's restaurants open in ten US cities yesterday? And is the departure of his interior minister another nail in the political coffin of President Emmanuel Macron?

The editorial in Le Monde looks back 25 years, almost day for day, to the signing of the Oslo Accords under which the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin laid out the terms under which an independent Palestinian state would begin to emerge. It was what we journalists routinely call "a historic moment". And it was a total failure.

A quarter of a century on, the hope represented by that first recognition by the neighbour enemies that their future could not be based on a refusal to accept the existence of the other, seems worse than misplaced.

The Palestinian camp is dangerously divided, says Le Monde, no one talks seriously about the two-state solution which was central to the Oslo deal, Rabin and Arafat are dead, three hundred thousand Jews now live on land which was supposed to be part of Palestine at the time of Oslo, the Gaza Strip has become a synonym for hunger, anger, violence and deprivation.

And the US administration under Donald Trump continues to humiliate and impoverish Palestinians, a political shortsightedness, warns Le Monde, which is simply fanning the flames of the next round of violence.

Big Mac faces harassment hiccup

There's more trouble for the fast-food chain McDonald's in the United States. Le Monde reports that there was not a Big Mac to be had anywhere in ten American cities, including Los Angeles and Chicago, yesterday as employees took to the streets to protest against sexual harassment by their bosses.

This follows a separate series of complaints earlier this year before the employment equality agency.

Half of McDonald's restaurant staff claim to have been the victims of harassment.

The fast food chain says it has a strict policy to ensure the safety and comfort of all workers, and has taken on expert advisors to ensure that that policy evolves on a daily basis. That's reassuring.

Is the Macron empire crumbling?

Right-wing daily Le Figaro goes to town on the fact that the Macron government is going to lose another high-profile minister.

Just weeks after the departure of green guru Nicolas Hulot from the ecology chair, the interior minister, Gérard Collomb, has announced that he'll be jumping ship next year so that he can have a shot at becoming mayor of the city of Lyon.

Popular daily Le Parisien describes the latest news as another dark cloud on the stormy presidential horizon, saying the ship of government is listing dangerously.

Le Figaro says Captain Emmanuel Macron is playing it cool, using Collomb's announcement as an occasion to remind the rest of his crew that no one can be, simultaneously, a member of the government and a candidate in another election.

Unlike the shock departure of Hulot, Collomb's decision came as no surprise. He warned the president and the prime minister before revealing his intentions, even sending the two men copies of the interview in a weekly magazine in which he went public.

Le Figaro says the presidential press team could not be more laid back, evoking "the famous saying of Jacques Chirac," without suggesting which of Chirac's famous sayings they had in mind.

The right-wing daily thinks a possible answer is Chirac's colourful observation to the effect that, when the shit hits the fan, it's generally flying in squadrons.

Macron has certainly had to do a lot of ducking recently, what with losing Hulot, going backwards in the popularity ratings, and being forced to grind his teeth as the Benalla affair involving alleged misdeeds by one of his closest collaborators unwinds before a Senate committee and in the papers.

Le Figaro wonders if this latest news is another sign that the Macron empire is relentlessly crumbling, given that Gérard Collomb was one of the founding fathers of the Republic on the Move party. And that several other cabinet members are being talked about as contenders for the job as mayor of Paris.

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