French President Nicolas Sarkozy has written to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reaffirm friendship despite what he refers to as their “differing views on the Middle East,” Israeli officials said on Monday.
Sarkozy’s comments, in a condolence message to Netanyahu for the death of his father-in-law, seemed an effort to try to clear the air a week after a reported gaffe this month at the G20 summit in Cannes, when he was overheard telling US President Barack Obama he thought Netanyahu was “a liar”.
In addition to words of sympathy, Sarkozy’s letter to Netanyahu, according to two officials in the Israeli leader’s office, said:
Reports last week said Sarkozy had told Obama, unaware that they were being overhead by journalists listening to the simultaneous translation of their Nov. 3 meeting: “I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar.”
According to the French interpreter, Obama replied: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more than you.”
Obama also sent condolences for the death of Shmuel Ben-Artzi, father of Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, who died a week ago in Jerusalem. Obama’s message made no mention of the remarks made in Cannes.
Obama and Netanyahu have had a rocky relationship but Obama was seen as eager to avoid any open confrontation with Israel ahead of a campaign for reelection next year for which he will need votes from Jewish voters.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the two of you,” he wrote, according to the Israeli officials.
Netanyahu had made no comment on Sarkozy’s comments which came at a time Israel’s ties with Paris had otherwise vastly improved after decades of tensions over France’s close alliances with Arab countries.
Differences between Israel and much of Europe have surfaced anew though as a Quartet of Middle East power brokers comprised of the European Union, United States, Russia and United Nations have sought unsuccessfully so far, to renew moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
European diplomats have blamed Israel for the breakdown in talks last year over Jewish settlement building in West Bank territory Palestinians seek for a state.
France also angered both Israel and the US last month by voting in favor of a Palestinain request for membership in the U.N. cultural heritage agency UNESCO last month, appearing to boost a Palestinian bid for recognition of their state.
Sarkozy has since then pledged France would not take any unilateral decisions when the UN Security Council takes up the Palestinians membership request this month.
One day french will be taken over by Islam, and then the President will understand oh No. But that will be too late then. Leave away from ISRAEL will result in leaving away from the LIVING G-D for EVER.
The U.S. President (and the French President) had better realize that the only truly reliable democracy and ally in the middle East is Israel and they will do whatever has to be done to keep their people and land safe. I would not be surprised if the Saudis have had some back channel communications with Israel to tell them we will not support a war if you strike Iran.
I can’t believe how the Jews have such a forgiving heart, after all what wrongly done to them. May God Bless them and protect them.
Those smiles look phoney to me
Tell the Israeli Prime Minister not tm rely on any man for strength. May he understand Yahweh’s word and rely on Him as his friend. Actually war is coming in the Middle East and it is at hand earlier than Israel is anticipating. Thank you.
Sarkozy is full of lies. But don’t worry, Netanyahoo is not fooled by him. He’s not fooled by Obama either. God has the right man in the right position.