France lawmaker suspended for waving Palestinian flag

French parliament Tuesday 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.

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

Parliament speaker Yael Braun-Pivet denounced what she called his unacceptable behaviour, and lawmakers voted to suspend him 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.

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, the United Kingdom and the United States — have done so.

French President Emmanuel Macron in February said recognising a Palestinian state was no longer “taboo”.

But Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in the lower house on Tuesday dodged a question 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 militant group Hamas on October 7 attacked southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants 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.