France asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris march: Report
Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on attending Sunday's anti-terrorism march in Paris despite being asked by French President Francois Hollande not to do so, Israeli media reported Monday.
"Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday," Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli source as saying.
The French president's "national security adviser, Jacques Audibert, contacted his Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, and said that Hollande would prefer that Netanyahu not attend," Haaretz quoted the source as saying.
The French official argued that Hollande wanted the event to focus on demonstrating solidarity with France, and to avoid anything that might divert attention to other issues, the source said.
According to the paper, the Israeli premier acquiesced to the French request, but changed his mind later after learning that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett had intended to travel to Paris.
"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," Haaretz quoted the source as saying.
The French presidency had to invite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas although the latter announced that he would not be traveling to Paris, the report said.
According to Haaretz, Hollande was so angry at Netanyahu that it was obvious during a ceremony held Sunday evening following the march at the Grand Synagogue in Paris.
"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," the Israeli paper said.
Both the Israeli and French authorities have yet to comment on Haaretz's assertions.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, for his part, said that Hollande had "contacted Abbas and asked him to attend the anti-terrorism march."
Twelve people were killed on Wednesday in an attack by masked gunmen at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine known for printing offensive material, including cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and 2012.
The two suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, were killed Friday in a warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, a small town north of Paris.
On the same day, four hostages and a gunman, said to be linked to the Kouachi brothers, were killed inside a kosher supermarket in Paris.
In response, Hollande called on world leaders and government to join the people of France in condemning the attacks by participating in Sunday's anti-terrorism march.
More than 55 world leaders marched in Paris Sunday with hundreds of thousands of people in a symbolic unity march to pay tribute to victims of the recent deadly attacks that killed a total of 17 people in France.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.