Hollande asked both Netanyahu and Abu Mazen not to come
There have been a lot of stories in the Israeli media on Monday, about how Prime Minister Netanyahu was asked to stay home
by French President Hollande. And that story is apparently true. But Netanyahu was not the only one who was asked to stay home. So was 'Moderate
Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen
. This is from the first link.
After the French government began to send 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
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.
The source noted that one of the French concerns - not conveyed to
representatives of the Israeli government - was that Netanyahu would
take advantage of the event for campaign purposes and make speeches,
especially about the Jews of France. Such statements, the Elysee Palace
feared, would hurt the demonstration of solidarity the French government
was trying to promote as part of dealing with the terror attacks.
According to the source, Netanyahu at first acquiesced to the French
request. In any case, the Shin Bet security service unit that protects
public figures considered the arrangements for the prime minister’s
security to be complex. And so, on Saturday evening, Netanyahu’s people
announced that he would not be flying to Paris because of security
concerns. Netanyahu told the French he would come to France on Tuesday
for a Jewish community event.
The French apparently sent the same message to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas. Like Netanyahu, Abbas acceded to the French
request and released a strange statement about the same time Netanyahu
released his, that he would not be attending the event because of the
However, on Saturday night, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced their intention to go to
Paris and take part in the march and meet with the Jewish community.
When Netanyahu heard they were going, he informed the French he would be
attending the march after all.
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
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.
Netanyahu's office has denied most of this story. Read the whole thing
. I think that given the Friday night massacre at the Kosher supermarket, it would have been outrageous for Netanyahu not to have been there - election campaign or no election campaign. Tzipi Livni and Buzi Herzog could have written this story.
Labels: Abu Mazen, Avigdor Lieberman, Binyamin Netanyahu, feckless French, Francois Hollande, Islamic terrorism, Naftali Bennett, Paris