As Reuters further reports, "a video posted on Facebook, the news footage mockingly set to the Looney Tunes cartoon music, showed Netanyahu maneuvering his way to the front of the rally with the help of several bodyguards, allowing him to be photographed arm-in-arm with other leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Those pictures were quickly posted on Netanyahu's Twitter feed, while the banner on his Facebook page was changed to a photograph of him in the front row, shoulder-to-shoulder with Hollande, Merkel, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk.Not shown in the picture was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was standing alongside Tusk, six feet (two meters) from Netanyahu. The two broke off peace talks last April and tensions between them have risen since, with Netanyahu accusing Abbas of inciting violence against Israelis.The irony is that neither Netanyahu nor Abbas initially planned to be in Paris.
What happened is that according to sources in Netanyahu's office said that in a phone call on Friday evening an adviser to Hollande had suggested it would be "complicated" and "uncomfortable" if the Israeli leader attended the Sunday march, largely because of security concerns.
Actually it was that... and other concerns. Here is Haaretz with the full story.
Hollande asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris memorial march
French President Francois Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday, according to an Israeli source who was privy to the contacts between the Elysees Palace and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The fact that this message had been conveyed was first reported by Channel 2.
After the French government began to send invitations to world leaders to participate in the rally against terror, Hollande’s national security adviser, Jacques Audibert, contacted his Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, and said that Hollande would prefer that Netanyahu not attend, the source said.
Audibert explained that Hollande wanted the event to focus on demonstrating solidarity with France, and to avoid anything liable to divert attention to other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Audibert said that Hollande hoped that Netanyahu would understand the difficulties his arrival might pose and would announce that he would not be attending.
The source noted that one of the French concerns - not conveyed to representatives of the Israeli government - was that Netanyahu would take advantage of the event for campaign purposes and make speeches, especially about the Jews of France. Such statements, the Elysee Palace feared, would hurt the demonstration of solidarity the French government was trying to promote as part of dealing with the terror attacks.
According to the source, Netanyahu at first acquiesced to the French request. In any case, the Shin Bet security service unit that protects public figures considered the arrangements for the prime minister’s security to be complex. And so, on Saturday evening, Netanyahu’s people announced that he would not be flying to Paris because of security concerns. Netanyahu told the French he would come to France on Tuesday for a Jewish community event.
Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Francois Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas march during a rally in Paris. Jan. 11, 2015. (AP)