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French press review 22 July 2014

French papers are still reeling from last weekend's pro-Palestinian protests in Paris with mounting concern over homegrown anti-Semitism and violence.


Right-wing Le Figaro warns that if things continue as they are, France will soon be the most anti-Semitic country in the West. If you count the number of Israeli flags they've burned that is.

The paper is alarmed that the protests revealed the latent violence that has been growing in France's streets. And this is caused by what it daintily refers to as young people with immigrant backgrounds, in parenthesis (North Africa or Sub-saharan Africa). These "little barbarians" have not yet learned to love France properly. It's interesting that the daily is decrying a form of racism, while preaching a watered-down version of its own.

Though there were protests Europe-wide, they were peaceful - and legal - everywhere except France.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Le Monde sees this weekend's violent events as proof that the government's top-down decision was a very grave mistake. Banning protests in a difficult political context is never the solution. The daily quotes the Declaration of the Rights of Man, from the French Revolution in 1789 just to be crystal clear.

Left leaning Libération says that the Israeli army chief is obsessed with discovering tunnels in Gaza. This may be because he failed to take them seriously until fairly recently. Libé reports that Israeli locals living near the border had heard the sound of digging for some time. A decade ago, Israel had already found a wide network of passageways developed by Hamas. But it had been unable to destroy it. At the time, the army had dreamed of running a moat along the border. Now they're hoping to build an intelligent tunnel of their own, that would detect movement underground.

CommunistL'Humanité calls on the world for solidarity with Gaza, citing what it calls a few voices of reason, including Israeli novelist A. B. Yehoshua saying many Israelis are in favour of a ceasefire. The paper accuses President Hollande of his usual vice: doddering, and failing to condemn Israel more clearly while his own backyard is on fire.

In Europe, the right to be forgotten, says Le Monde, may also mean the right to disappear despite your best efforts. On Google that is, which has been flooded with requests to remove a quarter million websites from its search since the European Court's decision on digital privacy in May. Truth is, Google is ill-equipped to judge whether a request is legitimate or not. One French online paper reports some of its articles disappearing from the search engine without further explanations. Next up is Microsoft, whose search engine Bing, second after Google, will also be taking down addresses.

And finally, if you get sick in France, get ready to spend a lot of time in the waiting room. That's what Catholic daily La Croix reports, with an extensive spread on French health care. Though long waits at emergency services regularly make headlines, that's not where the real news is, says the daily. It's actually the delay with regular doctors that have grown to astronomic proportions; especially with specialists. There's a serious derth in doctors in France's more rural areas and it looks to the UK for advice, where new hospitals have been opened around the country.

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