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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was told not to join the Paris Unity Rally
Tuesday January 13, 2015 5:09 PM, ummid.com News Desk

French President Francois Hollande, as part of attempt to keep Israeli-Palestinian conflict out of European show of unity, has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror.

Paris Unit March

Qouting an unnamed Israeli source, the Haaretz daily reported that after Netanyahu insisted on coming, French made it clear Abbas would be invited as well.

After the French government began sending invitations to world leaders to participate in the rally against terror, Hollande's national security adviser, Jacques Audibert, contacted his Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, and said that Hollande would prefer that Netanyahu not attend, the source said.

Audibert explained that Hollande wanted the event to focus on demonstrating solidarity with France, and to avoid anything liable to divert attention to other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Audibert said that Hollande hoped that Netanyahu would understand the difficulties his arrival might pose and would announce that he would not be attending.

According to the source, when Cohen informed Audibert that Netanyahu would be attending the event after all, Audibert angrily told Cohen that the prime minister's conduct would have an adverse effect on ties between the two countries as long as Hollande was president of France and Netanyahu was prime minister of Israel.

Audibert made it clear that in light of Netanyahu's intention to arrive, an invitation would also be extended to Abbas. And indeed, several hours after Abbas announced that he would not be traveling to Paris, his office issued a statement stating that he would in fact be at the march.

Hollande's anger at Netanyahu was evident during the ceremony held Sunday evening following the march at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, an event attended by hundreds of members of the local Jewish community.

Hollande sat through most of the ceremony, but when Netanyahu's turn at the podium arrived, the French president got up from his seat and made an early exit.

Upset at Netanyahu, Hollande also presumably preferred to avoid a rerun of the 2012 ceremony for the victims of the Toulouse shooting – to which Netanyahu arrived just as he was commencing his elections campaign.

The French weekly La Canard Enchaine revealed then that Hollande complained in closed talks after that event that he found it unfortunate that Netanyahu had come to Paris to conduct a "two-staged election campaign," starting with a memorial for those murdered at the Jewish school in Tolouse, followed by a his speech at a ceremony there.

The French president was quoted by the report saying that it was only because he came with Netanyahu to the ceremony that the Israeli prime minister toned down his speech.




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