French President Francois Hollande told his counterpart, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not to attend the Paris rally in the wake of the jihadist attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish market last week, for fear that the Israeli PM’s presence might upset those troubled with his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office confirmed late Sunday that the French president believed Netanyahu would be a “divisive” presence at the rally, according to Israeli media reports.
When they were made aware that Netanyahu was going to attend the rally despite the best efforts of Hollande’s government, France reportedly responded by inviting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past written congratulatory letters to jihadists for killing Jews. He has also supported a policy where terrorists, or the families of slain Palestinian terrorists, would receive money in appreciation for their killing of innocents.
While in France, Netanyahu was seemingly the only world leader who pointed directly at radical Islam and the global jihadist movement for the worsening situation for Jews in Europe. “There is a direct line between the attacks of the Islamic extremists around the world and the attack here at the kosher grocery at the center of Paris,” said Netanyahu. The Israeli Prime Minister challenged the international community to stand up against Islamic terrorism “even when it is directed at Israel and the Jews.”
France has recently sided with the Palestinians in their appeal for statehood at the United Nations. In late December, France was among the eight countries that voted “yes” for a Palestinian state.