Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to put off his scheduled trip next week to France and Italy.
This was to be his first trip to those countries since his election as prime minister. One assessment is that the reason for the cancellation is the European anger over Mr. Netanyahu’s policies and the statements he made at a ceremony marking Jerusalem Day. At the ceremony, Mr. Netanyahu said that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and would never be divided. Officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau rejected that assessment outright.
Prime Minister Netanyahu was slated to meet next week with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. All of the facets of those two planned meetings had already been worked out and all of the technical difficulties had been surmounted. But last night, Mr. Netanyahu informed his French and Italian hosts that he was going to have to put off his planned visit.
Political sources said they believed the reason for the cancellation was the sensitive political situation in light of Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to declare his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
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And for the statements he made at a Jerusalem Day ceremony that “an undivided Jerusalem would remain the eternal capital of Israel.”
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org