Tunisia and france relationship

Modern History of the Arab Countries by Vladimir Borisovich Lutsky

tunisia and france relationship

Tunisia's relations with Israel in a comparative approach . 8 In January , during an official visit in France, Moshe Dayan, Foreign Minister of Menahem. This event brings into prominence a politician destined to play the central role in the future relationship between France and Tunisia and then in the affairs of. Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in order to study the desirability and feasibility FRANCE and will contribute all possible assistance to obtain this objective, as it.

But it is only inafter the declaration of principles between Israel and the PLO, that Amman signed a peace treaty with its western neighbor. The will expressed by King Hussein to achieve a warm peace where cooperation and trust would prevail, thus distancing his policy from the Israeli-Egyptian, did not last. As Robert Satloff emphasised in an article published a few weeks after the signature of the treaty: The strategic choice to recognize Israel came from the top of the regime and very little space was left in the public sphere for debating and choosing the degree of the relation with Israel.

In other words, opposition to the peace treaty with Israel meant an opposition to the regime. The Tunisian case compared to the Spanish scenario 21Three decades after the democratic transition in Southern Europe and its implications in the relations between Europe and Israel, Tunisia offers a fascinating comparative case. Independent from France sinceit is not a strategic player in Middle-East politics.

But that does not automatically disconnect the Maghreb from the Palestinian question. Tunisia did not have the same attitude as Libya and Algeria, which saw themselves as champions of Arab nationalism, as both condemned the Camp David accords and gave political and material support to Palestinian armed groups.

By contrast, Tunisia developed an original diplomatic approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

tunisia and france relationship

He condemned the approach that characterized according to him the Arab leadership on the Palestinian matter: They refused the division [the partition plan] and the clauses of the White Paper. Then they regretted it. His position of sober realism towards the physical existence of Israel triggered a diplomatic storm between Tunisia and the other members of the Arab league Following this, Israel developed an indirect policy in favor of Tunisia by trying to use Diaspora Jews for the purpose of reaching Bourguiba.

The articulation between tourism and the interactions with Diaspora Jews constitute since then two very important factors in the evolution of Israeli-Tunisian ties Thousands of them emigrated in the following years to France and Israel.

In Junefollowing the victory of the Israeli army in the Six-day war, revolts targeting the Jewish communities in took place in Tunis where 25 Jews lived at that time. As a result, only 10 Jews have since remained in the country. The Tunisian authorities have always attached great importance on presenting the Jewish community as an integral part of the national identity. In its third exile in an Arab state, after Jordan and Lebanon, the Palestinian leadership crossed the Mediterranean Sea, under French escort, and settled in the Tunisian capital.

Arafat escaped from the bombing but Israel hit again the Tunisian territory three years later, in Aprilwhen a Mossad squad assassinated Abou Jihad President Ben Ali, who succeeded Bourguiba indid not venture as far as Morocco during the Oslo peace process.

The Israeli delegation, headed by Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, made a stop on September 14 on the way back to Israel from the signing ceremony in Washington and Moroccan and Israeli leaders, like Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, met on several occasions.

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In Tunisia the contacts focused mostly on promoting Israeli tourism in Tunisia and facilitate the arrangement for visas. Israeli citizens, especially those coming for the Ghriba pilgrimage in the Djerba peninsula could enter the Tunisian territory with their passports Public contacts were severed after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in autumn but Israeli nationals continued to be authorized to visit Tunisia and so were travellers holding a passport with an Israeli stamp. It is there than for the first time the massive mobilization of the population of an Arab state lead to the fall and departure of an authoritarian leader.

Diplomats, journalists and researchers have focused on the major internal dynamics within the Tunisian society since But, as emphasized in this paper, the Tunisian public opinion also addressed international questions.

France–Tunisia relations - Wikiwand

The relationship with France, the former colonial ruler, was also a sensitive issue, as illustrated by the demonstrations leading to the early departure of Boris Bouillon, the French ambassador in Tunis from February to August To what extend has the Palestinian question become an issue in the post-Ben Ali Tunisia? In a conference given in Paris at the end of the summerin front of all the French ambassadors he declared: Listen to what the young people of the Arab Spring are screaming.

Its main role was to draft and adopt a new constitution. Interestingly enough, it did specifically mention the Palestinian issue, thus illustrating the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict clearly remains very high in the public agenda of such a young democracy. Yet, criticisms were voiced by the organization Human Right Watch. The article concerning Israel were presented as potential threat to freedom of expression, Nevertheless, these articles still did not draw public criticisms from European leaders despite the actual coverage of this issue in the European and Israeli presses.

Nothing compared to the European pressures on Spain can be found when it comes to Tunisia.


In Januaryhe spent several days in Tunisia. Conclusion 38The Tunisian situation towards Israel is unique.

tunisia and france relationship

This Arab and Muslim country located far geographically from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is conserving a small Jewish community while showing a strong sense of solidarity towards the Palestinian cause. As such, this case permits to rethink the study of the relations of the Arab world with Israel as well as the foreign policy of the EU. At the time of writing Springthe debate on the degree of normalisation with Israel is going on in Tunisia. It focuses on the authorization or not for Israelis to visit the country.

A majority seems to favour a formula which authorizes the entrance of Israeli tourists, for the sake of economic interests, yet without seeking to establish any relation at the official level with Israel.

As seen bellow, any attempt aiming at preventing future changes in the relation with Israel have been suppressed from the Constitution. The repetition of the Spanish scenario, in which total normalization results from a European collective pressure, does not seem realistic in this context. Those can "create wealth" and lead to more local jobs, Mohamed told Al Jazeera.

Asked whether he believed Tunisian businesses were adequately helping the country deal with its current economic problems, Mohamed said companies "have a mission to contribute to the creation of wealth and jobs" in Tunisia.

Security issues Sarah Yerkes, a fellow in the Middle East programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said people should not have false hope that Macron will solve Tunisia's economic problems.

She said she expected migration to be a point of focus during Macron's visit, as well as security, including cooperation and training to secure the porous Libya-Tunisia border.

EU blacklist The visit also comes after the EU removed Tunisia from a blacklist of countries it designated as tax havens. The country had been added to the list in early December for allegedly being host to "harmful preferential tax regimes". Tunisia now figures on a grey list of tax havens. According to Cherif, being on the list has put "a lot of pressure on Tunisia" because of its current economic crisis, and as it is about to go back to negotiations over a free trade deal with the EU.

According to Abderrahim, the Tunisian government fears the designation will draw "away investments that Tunisia really needs for its economic recovery".

tunisia and france relationship

She said the government in Tunis wants support from France on its socioeconomic development, as well as at the EU level. It wants Tunisian citizens, especially young people, to get visas to European countries more easily. But while the Tunisian government has high expectations, most citizens do not.

For that reason, she said Macron's visit will be "just business as usual".