Quarrel in Jerusalem: Paris gave Netanyahu the cold shoulder

It is widely known that the newspaper Ha’aretz is anti-Netanyahu as most of the Israeli press. But it is really odd that it had to quibble over the fact that the Israeli Prime Minister went to Paris to attend the anti-terror rally.

Who else should have gone there if not Bibi, who has always been a champion of the war on terror? What country should have been represented there if not Israel, which suffered a number of losses incomparable to that of any other country, and which, in addition, managed to defeat the terrorists?

Instead, yesterday, the polemicists on the media spent the day arguing on the following points: Netanyahu – as they said – was invited only when the Élysée realized that it could not avoid it. Actually, before that, he had been informed that it would have been better if he stayed home. But, reportedly, Bibi insisted. So, the invitation was extended also to Abu Mazen.

This information allegedly came from an “anonymous source” from the Prime Minister’s office. While the office did not relate to it with any official statement, the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman did, asking the journalists if they had “telepathic powers” to communicate with the French, since the diplomatic sources knew nothing about it.

Bibi has also been accused of pushing his way to the bus to take him to the rally, and of elbowing himself from the second into the front row of the parade. According to Paris Match, instead, the Élysée had reserved a place for the Israeli PM on the front row, and Abu Mazen had the same honor too. It is true that Bibi started the march on the second row, but the cheers by the French Jews made him step forward to greet them.

Bibi was also accused of encouraging, with his presence, an excessive self-identification of the French Jews, making them a “foreign body” in a day of great unity, and of having invited them, even if discreetly, to move to Israel. Actually, Netanyahu just made clear the Jewish State’s willingness to welcome those who want to move to Israel. And, frankly, nothing could seem more logic than that, specially when the four Jewish victims were brought to Jerusalem to be buried there.

Finally, the press also noticed how President Hollande left before Bibi began his speech in the Synagogue, where a memorial ceremony for the victims was being held. That seems to be explained by the fact that, since a French chief of State is not allowed to speak in a religious setting, he had to leave according to the protocol in order not to remain a mute spectator after a speech of another head of State.

But both the press and the TVs did not say a single word about the fact that, while Abu Mazen was marching, Fatah was celebrating Dalal Moughrabi, the terrorist who, in 1978, led the attack that killed 38 civilians, 12 of them children.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (January 13, 2015)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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