France made it clear early Thursday that contrary to an Israeli police statement, there was no "apology" on their part after French President Emmanuel Macron confronted Israeli security guards in the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday.
"There was no presidential apology to the Israeli security forces," French officials told Haaretz.
According to the Élysée Palace, Israeli security forces tried to enter the common ground of the French-owned church space and President Macron responded to a dispute that arose between French and Israeli security.
"St. Anne is a French national domain in Jerusalem. It is the role of France in this city to protect these places. The Israeli security forces wanted to enter it while security was provided by French security. The president reacted to an altercation between the Israeli and French security forces at the time of entering St. Anne in order to end it and to recall the rules that apply. He recalled that everything had gone well so far in the visit and that no incident should be created. Everything is in order. Nothing serious," said the officials.
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A video that captured the incident shows Macron raising his voice at Israeli security forces, ordering them not to enter the Church of St. Anne. "Everybody knows the rules ... Outside, please," he can be heard yelling.
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After the incident the Israel Police said in an official statement that following Macron's departure from the church, his team apologized and the French president shook the hands of the Israeli security forces at the scene.
The Church of St. Anne is a Roman Catholic church located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, and belongs to the French government.
The French president is in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.