Tel Aviv, MINA – Israel’s extremist Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich was unable to arrange a meeting with any senior French officials on his planned visit to Paris next month.
Israeli media, as quoted by the Middle East Monitor on Wednesday, have warned, this is the result of his denial of the existence of Palestinians during his visit to Paris two months ago.
Smotrich is expected to visit Paris to attend the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries’ conference of finance ministers.
However, his office was unable to arrange additional meetings for him, either with his French counterpart or with any senior officials in the municipality of Paris.
The annual meeting of Finance Ministers of OECD countries will be held at its headquarters in Paris on 7-8 June 2023, with the participation of 38 developed countries which collectively represent 60 percent of global gross domestic product. The occupied state of Israel became a member of the OECD in 2010.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported: “This French boycott comes after the backlash caused by Smotrich’s personal visit to Paris two months ago. A map of ‘Greater Israel’, which includes Jordan, was displayed on its platform.
In his speech, he stated that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian, and this truth must be heard in the Élysée Palace and the White House’. Later the French Foreign Ministry described his words as ‘outrageous and irresponsible and the expansion of the map of Israel as ‘provocative’.”
Just a week later, an official French source explained, France avoided meeting Israeli Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Smotrich.
On 9 May 2023, European Union (EU) representatives also canceled official ‘Europe Day’ celebrations in Israel following the election of Ben-Gvir to represent his government in it and the EU embassy in Tel Aviv announced it was not interested in providing a platform for those whose positions conflicted with values of EU value. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)