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French press review 2 November 2012

Text by: William Niba
6 min

The papers today all react to the tribute paid by President François Hollande and the visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to seven French citizens killed by Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah in south-western France.


Libération underlines Hollande’s vow to hunt down terrorism “by all possible means” during the emotional service at the Ohr Torah School in Toulouse, where three Jewish children and a rabbi were shot dead by the “Al-Qaeda inspired killer”.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Libé says the visit of the Israeli leader should be analysed from two perspectives - solidarity with the victims of terrorism and a memorable day of fraternity for the peoples of France and Israel. It, however,  welcomes the fact that the gravity of President Hollande’s message overshadowed the political component of the Israeli premier’s visit to France.

The paper urges France and the European Union to deliver a firm message to Netanyahu, who is currently seeking reelection, that his alliance with the xenophobic and war-mongering far-right is unacceptable, jeopardises the creation of a Palestinian state and constitutes a threat to global peace in a region under tensions.

According to the left-leaning paper, while nobody can blame Israel for being haunted by threats to its security, given its suspicions of Iran, Netanyahu’s "extremist" posture a few weeks from general elections should be denounced without restraint as the "war on terror" does not justify the worst possible political decisions.

Le Figaro holds that the battle against anti-Semitism in France and the fight against global terrorism couldn’t find a more powerful symbol than the emotional Franco-Israeli ceremony in Toulouse.

The conservative paper stresses that Netanyahu spoke in French, a language he never uses, as he stood by Hollande on the site of the dramatic killings, thus illustrating the deep ties uniting the two countries.

L’Humanité presses ahead with its campaign for same sex marriages.

The Communist paper is clamouring for “a right to marriage and parenthood for all”, pointing to the fact that draft legislation on the reform described by L’Humanité as “social progress” is due to be examined during next week’s cabinet meeting.

La Croix gives the floor to Catholic bishops as the church reaches out to the media in its campaign against the Socialist government’s “marriage for all” policy and the “bio-ethical questions” posed if government yields to pressure from the left to legalise euthanasia in France.

Le Figaro says conservative voters are not the only ones worried by François Hollande’s drifting presidency. The right-wing paper says he has received a “warning” from prominent personalities in his Socialist fold to come clean on his policies and make clear to the French people where he is taking the nation.

Special dossier

Les Echos headlines on the trauma facing retiring workers as they wake up to the shock of life on a pension and a reduced standard of living. The economic newspaper publishes a six-page supplement with answers to eight questions prospective pensioners must keep in their minds in order to be ready when their working lives come to a close.

Are there too many useless radars on France's streets and highways?”

That is a question raised by Le Parisien. The paper opens the debate after the vehicle drivers’ association Quarante Millions d’Automobilistes published a study that it says shows that one out of every two speed cameras has not contributed to improving road security.

And Le Monde takes its readers into the heart of the 6 November American presidential elections, now just days away. Its point of interest is the debate about the role of the public service rekindled by Hurricane Sandy and the staffing problems faced by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

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