Netanyahu and Macron speak at memorial for deported French Jews
The Times reports on the statements made by French President Macron in a joint ceremony with Israeli Benjamin Prime Minister Netanyahu to remember the 1942 round-up and subsequent deportation of 13,152 French Jews at the Velodrome d’Hiver . Mr. Macron acknowledged the French state’s culpability for the deportation of French Jews to Nazi death-camps, which resulted in 70,000 deaths. Speaking at the Velodrome Mr. Macron warned that “anti-Semitism is still present and doing well in modern France”. Mr. Macron also condemned politicians who “are prepared to reverse the truth” in an attempt to deny the responsibility of the French state for the deportation of Jews during World War II. Mr. Netanyahu praised the “special heroism “of French resistance members, and remembered the “noble French citizens” who saved thousands of Jews by hiding them “at great risk to their own lives”. The BBC reports that the presence of PM Netanyahu at the ceremony has drawn criticism from some groups in France as “politicising” the ceremony. Former Israeli ambassador to France Elie Barnavi told the AFP news agency: “the presence of Netanyahu makes me a little uneasy. This story has nothing to do with Israel”
The i reports that President Macron called on PM Netanyahu during his visit to do “everything that should be done” in order to kick-start peace negotiations with Palestine. Mr. Macron also condemned Friday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem that left two police officers dead.
The i also reports on a proposed plan by Israel’s Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, Yisrael Katz, to build a new rail line to the Saudi cities of Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah. The proposed line would run from the Israeli city of Haifa, on the Mediterranean coast, via Jenin and Amman, on to Riyadh, before terminating in Dammam on the Persian Gulf. The paper reports that the line would provide a freight conduit to the Mediterranean for the states of the Gulf. Gulf States previously accessed the Mediterranean via Syrian ports, but access to these ports has been cut off as a result of the ongoing war in the country. Mr. Katz notes that the rail line would create a cheaper and faster trade route for Israel’s Gulf neighbours, as well improving the prospects for Israeli trade. Mr. Katz also mooted the idea that the line could be used to facilitate the annual pilgrimage of Israel’s Muslim minority to Mecca.
Maariv and Haaretz lead on Prime Minister Netanyahu criticising the terms of the ceasefire in southern Syria agreed by Russia and the US. Despite Israel having shared their concerns with both President Putin and US Secretary of State Tillerson during the negotiations, the fear remains that Israel’s deep concerns over the Iranian presence in Syria were ignored.
All the papers continue to follow developments on the Temple Mount that gradually reopened yesterday following the deadly terror attack on Friday. Maariv and Israel Hayom highlight the protests at Israel’s placement of metal detectors at the entrances of the gates for Muslim worshipers for the first time.
Israel Hayom also frames the fallout of the terror attack, that despite Hamas celebrations they are isolated in the Arab world, with seemingly no one wanting to host the new leader of the Hamas political bureau Haniya. The paper also discusses the steps taken by PA Chairman Abbas to isolate Hamas.
Maariv reports comments by President Rivlin who was critical of the weak response of the Israeli Arab leadership to condemn the terror attack “Terrorism must be denounced unconditionally and straightforwardly. Whoever does not denounce terrorism collaborates with it”. But also added, “I would like to commend the responsible leadership in the entire region for clear and responsible steps, including by the King of Jordan and the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, who comprehended the danger clearly and took action together with us to calm tempers,”
Israel Hayom prominently covers Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Paris and French President Macron’s supportive comments, “We will never surrender to the messages of hate, we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism.”
Yediot Ahronot reports more details of the submarine sale investigation. This time it focusses on the patrol boats commissioned to protect the off-shore natural gas rigs. The paper claims that in 2013 the security establishment approached a South Korean shipyard about building three appropriate battleships for Israel. However, less than two years later an acquisition deal was signed, but with a completely different supplier, again the Germany shipyard Thyssen-Krupp won the contract. The allegation suggests the German ships were larger, less maneuverable and not fit for the task.
Yediot Ahronot also reports the investigation of alleged collusion between the Communications Ministry and Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms company.
Kan Radio News includes an interview by the Chinese news agency with Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas in which he agreed to minor land swaps as part of the negotiations to establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. He said that he hoped that it would also be possible to find permanent solutions to the issues of Jerusalem and the refugees.