French President Francois Hollande (3rd from left) is surrounded by heads of state (from left to right) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ibrahim Boubakar Keita of Mali, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, EU Council President Donald Tusk and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as they attend the solidarity march (March Republicaine) in the streets of Paris, January 11, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)
The French government was opposed to the idea of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attending Sunday’s historic march in Paris, believing the Israeli leader’s presence at the rally would be “divisive,” Israeli media reported Sunday.
Netanyahu did not initially plan to attend the event, which was organized in a show of solidarity and defiance after terrorist attacks in the French capital, which claimed 17 lives. However, the Prime Minister changed his mind after Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced they would join the march, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported.
In retaliation to Netanyahu’s sudden change of heart, which came in spite of the French government’s position, the Elysee Palace extended an invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the report.
The French government reportedly further chose to highlight their invite to Abbas rather than Netanyahu’s announcement regarding the event, announcing a planned meeting between French President Francois Hollande and Abbas Saturday night…