Gaza – Mediapart’s calling into question of action by french diplomatic and consular staff (29 October 2023)


Several hundred staff of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs are working constantly to respond to the crisis in Gaza. An article published by Mediapart on 28 October suggests the opposite.

As Mediapart could see during a telephone conversation recorded without our colleague’s knowledge, the CDCS [Crisis and Support Centre] can be contacted 24/7. French diplomatic teams in Paris, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Cairo are constantly monitoring the situation of our compatriots in Gaza.

Contact is made with our compatriots and their families in Gaza by the French Consulate General in Jerusalem, which is also in touch with nongovernmental and international organizations present on the ground. For example, the Consulate General’s teams quickly identified the 170 French people and local employees in Gaza and are continuing their active efforts both day and night to provide them with assistance and maintain contact as far as communication allows.

Since 7 October, French nationals have been contacted individually and their locations updated; a large majority of them have travelled to the south of the Gaza Strip. Although communications were interrupted yesterday, they have resumed this morning, and our teams in Jerusalem have been able to talk to several French people in Gaza.

The CDCS provides telephone hotline support only if the capabilities of the Embassy and Consulate are exceeded. In such cases, volunteer staff removed from the services to which they are normally assigned and French Red Cross volunteers, among others, answer calls. Several hundred of them have been doing this work seven days a week, both day and night, when this has been necessary.

The CDCS obviously remains mobilized to deal with the situation in Gaza, including to enable our compatriots to leave, which is still our priority, and to organize France’s humanitarian support on the ground.

The Mediapart article mentions the case of a 74-year-old French national in Gaza. We are aware of only one case fitting this description. Our teams have been in contact with him and regularly communicate with his family in France, including yesterday, the publication date of the Mediapart article, which suggests that no contact was possible.

The member of staff whose reply Mediapart recorded without their knowledge has offered to forward the information communicated to the crisis unit at the French Consulate General in Jerusalem, in accordance with how roles are divided up between hotline staff and those responsible for contacting families.

Protecting our compatriots and Foreign Ministry staff stranded in Gaza is at the heart of France’s current diplomatic efforts. Minister Catherine Colonna has spoken to staff at Gaza’s Institut français on three occasions and the Foreign Ministry is doing everything it can to assist them.

We pay tribute to the professionalism of diplomatic and consular staff, who ensure the safety of our compatriots throughout the world – in Sudan and Niger in the past, and now in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.