Netanyahu, left, at the Paris march
France asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stay away from a weekend solidarity march in Paris but he ignored the request and attended anyway, Israeli media reported on Monday.
The same message was conveyed to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a bid to avoid the commemoration of the 17 people killed in Islamist attacks in the French capital last week being clouded by the Middle East conflict, the reports said.
But when Netanyahu rejected the appeals of the French government, Abbas was swiftly invited, Channel Two television and Israeli newspapers reported.
President Francois Hollande had wanted to “focus on solidarity with France, and to avoid anything liable to divert attention to other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the liberal Haaretz newspaper reported.
There was also concern Netanyahu would use the event to “make speeches” as he prepares for a March 17 general election, in which he is seeking a fourth term.
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