Sarkozy Was Mad About Shalit Deal

Called Bibi 'Liar' After France Sidelined From Release Talks

Why I Was Mad: French President Nicolas Sarkozy got in hot water when an open microphone caught him calling Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu a ‘liar.’ Now he is explaining why he said it.
getty images
Why I Was Mad: French President Nicolas Sarkozy got in hot water when an open microphone caught him calling Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu a ‘liar.’ Now he is explaining why he said it.

By Haaretz

Published December 08, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

What caused French President Nicolas Sarkozy to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a liar? In a conversation with Diaspora Jewish leaders in Paris two weeks ago, Sarkozy said he made the comment due to his anger at Netanyahu over France’s exclusion from the deal that freed kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who is also a French citizen.

During the G-20 summit at the beginning of November in Cannes, microphones that had been left on captured a private conversation between U.S. President Barack Obama and Sarkozy, who called Netanyahu a liar and said “I can’t stand him anymore.” Obama said in response: “You may be sick of him, but I have to deal with him every day.”

Sarkozy told the Jewish leaders that he had offered to send a French helicopter to Egypt to collect the newly freed Shalit and transfer him to Israel’s Tel Nof air base. A French aircraft carrier was in the area and was even put on alert. But Netanyahu said no to the offer. In the end, Shalit was transferred to Israel by car via the Kerem Shalom crossing, and then flown from there to Tel Nof.

After that initial rejection, the Elysee Palace asked that French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot participate in the ceremony welcoming Shalit back to Israel at Tel Nof. But Netanyahu refused this request as well.

Sarkozy was very frustrated by the Israeli refusal, and the fact that he received no credit for Shalit’s release. Sarkozy felt France deserved to be part of the celebrations over Shalit’s homecoming, due to the efforts Sarkozy had invested in securing his freedom.

The French president was further irritated because Israel did give public credit to the Egyptian and German mediators who worked on the deal.

Over the past few weeks, senior French officials have approached Israel’s ambassador in Paris and asked that Israel at least make a symbolic gesture toward France as part of the second stage of the Shalit deal. Specifically, the French asked Israel to consider releasing a Palestinian prisoner, Salah Hamouri, who is also French. Hamouri was arrested in 2005 as part of a cell from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that had planned to murder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.