More than 40 world leaders have arrived in Israel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz extermination camps by the Soviet army. The leaders include Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Britain's Prince Charles and US Vice President Mike Pence, who have travelled to Tel Aviv, in what is called the largest congregation in the country, ever.
"Go Out!" Macron tells Israeli security
On Wednesday, an altercation took place between French President Emmanuel Macron and the Israeli security, outside the Church of Saint Anne, situated in Jerusalem's Old City. The Roman Catholic church situated in Jerusalem is a French territory, since the 1850s.
The argument was sparked when Israeli security officers were apparently trying to follow him into the church, CNN reported. "I don't like what you did in front of me," the French leader says in a raised voice pointing at the Israeli officers.
"Go out. Go outside, please".
"I'm sorry, but we know the rules. Nobody, nobody has to provoke, nobody. We keep calm", he continues.
"Please respect the rules as they are for centuries. They will not change with me. I can tell you, OK?"
"St. Anne belongs to France in Jerusalem. It is up to France to protect these places in this city. The Israeli security forces wanted to enter while security was being provided by French security services. The president reacted to an altercation between the Israeli and French security forces at the time of entering Saint Anne in order to end it, and to remind everyone of the rules that apply", a spokeswoman for the Elysee Palace told CNN.
A similar incident with a former French President
An exact same incident occurred in 1996, when the then French President Jacques Chirac, engaged in a heated argument with Israeli security officers, outside the same church.
"What do you want? Me to go back to my plane and go back to France, is that what you want?", Chirac had said then.
French territory in the midst of Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Church of St Anne dates back to 1138 A.D. and is considered the home of Virgin Mary and her parents, according to Christian traditions. Located in Eastern Jerusalem, it is considered a disputed territory by the whole world, except Israel which considers it as its own.
In 1856, the Ottomon Turks gifted the Church to France as a gesture of gratitude for aid in the Crimean War and the French flag has flown at the top of the Saint Anne Church, since then.