Today at the U.N. General Assembly, Sarkozy announced he was in favour of scheduling the Israel-Palestine peace process and reaching a deal in a year’s time. Sarkozy’s interest in the resolution of the conflict seems to coincide with France’s involvement with Libya’s new government; this probably testifies of France’s wish to consolidate its relations with the Middle East, in particular in these times of change.
Green politician Noël Mamère also pointed out the electoral stakes of Sarkozy’s position*: supporting Palestinians in some way or other is a way of remaining politically neutral with respect to a highly controversial issue. Foreign relations will not be a point of contestation from opponents when election time comes next year.
Also, the Palestinian cause is massively supported by France’s Muslim community and Sarkozy’s new move may serve to camouflage the controversial ban on the niqab that became effective in France in April 2011 . Is Sarkozy trying to appeal to France’s Muslim community while remaining attractive to far-right voters?
[* I will update this post with a link as soon as possible]