PARIS (Apr. 5)
A small group of militant Jewish students disrupted a ceremony Tuesday morning in which President Francois Mitterrand was inaugurating a new terminal at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The students, whose organization Tagar is the student representation of the French branch of Herut, were protesting the French leader’s plans to meet with Yasir Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization chairman.
A score of demonstrators gathered at the airport at Roissy, on the outskirts of Paris, and shouted slogans hostile to the announced Arafat visit.
Police immediately surrounded the militants and dragged them away to the airport’s police station. They were all released in a couple of hours.
At the same time, a group of militants of the larger Herut group, together with members of the National Assembly, managed to make their way into the yard of the Elysee Palace, the president’s residence.
There, they laid a wreath in memory of the victims of terrorism.
Last week’s official announcement of a forthcoming encounter between Mitterrand and Arafat is embarrassing the leaders of the Jewish community in France.
But while some members of CRIF, the representative body of French Jews, are in favor of large protest demonstrations, the majority seem to favor political action.
As a first step, CRIF on Tuesday publicly expressed its “reprobation” of the planned meeting between Arafat and Mitterrand.
“This meeting will not promote peace in the region, because Arafat hasn’t recognized the legitimacy of Israel’s existence, he hasn’t renounced terror and violence, he hasn’t abrogated the article of the Palestinian charter calling for the destruction of Israel.”