Left wing French lawmaker suspended for raising Palestine flag

France’s parliament yesterday suspended a left-wing lawmaker for two weeks after he held up a Palestinian flag during a heated debate over whether France should recognise Palestinian statehood, as President Emmanuel Macron said such a step should not be based on “emotion”.

Sebastien Delogu, a member of parliament for the France Unbowed (LFI) party from the southern city of Marseille, stood up with the flag during questions to the government, AFP reported.

Parliament speaker Yael Braun-Pivet denounced what she called unacceptable behaviour, and lawmakers voted to suspend Delogu for two weeks and cut his parliamentary allowance by half for two months.

Delogu left the lower chamber making a V-sign for victory, as right-wing and centrist lawmakers inside applauded the sanctions against him. Some deputies exchanged heated words outside the chamber.

His suspension came on the day Spain, Ireland and Norway formally recognised Palestinian statehood in a coordinated decision that has infuriated Israel.

Their move brings to 145 out of the 193 UN member states that have recognised a Palestinian state.

But no member of the Group of Seven industrial powers — including France, Britain and the United States — have done so.

Macron had said in February that recognising a Palestinian state was no longer “taboo”.

On Tuesday, speaking during a visit to Germany, he clarified those comments, saying “I am totally prepared to recognise a Palestinian state but this recognition must come at a useful moment”.

“I will not do a recognition based on emotion,” he said.

But Prime Minister Gabriel Attal dodged a question in the lower house on Tuesday from another LFI member of parliament about whether France would soon join its European allies in doing so.

The latest Gaza war has sparked tensions in France, a country with the largest Jewish community of any country after Israel and the United States, as well as Europe’s biggest Muslim community.

The war started when Palestinian group Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Hamas also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,096 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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