Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Israeli overflights will continue


Despite a trip by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to France to meet with French President Jacques Chirac, the two were unable to come to any agreement over Israeli overflights of Lebanon. Israel claims the flights are necessary to collect intelligence on Hezbollah's arms smuggling, while Chirac has called them a breach of the UN ceasefire. French troops almost fired on an Israeli F-15 (well ok, made in America) a month ago because it was diving at their position. French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who will make a half-hearted attempt for the UMP nomination, has said that these overflights are "extremely dangerous," but this conflicts heavily with Socialist candidate Segolene Royal's statements, which have called them understandable. This gives Interior Minister and presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy several options. He has consistently been one of the staunchest French supporters of Israel, even during the heavily criticized Israeli war in Lebanon this summer. If Sarkozy goes along with Royal's conciliatory tone, he will be breaking strongly with many in his party and could be accused of working against the interests of French troops stationed there. If agrees with his Defense Minister, he risks alienating the many Jewish voters already behind his campaign.

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