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November 10, 2013 12:17 am

Source: Hollande Will Address Knesset Following Speaker Boycott Threat

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Israeli President Shimon Peres with French President Francois Hollande Paris 8/3/2013. Photo: Moshe Milner GPO.

French President Francois Hollande has decided to address Israel’s parliament during his upcoming visit to the country, backtracking on an earlier reported decision not to do so, The Algemeiner has learned.

Hollande’s decision to address the Knesset came after Speaker Yuli Edelstein promised via Facebook to personally boycott the French President during his visit, if he opted to bypass the Knesset, a diplomatic source, with knowledge of the matter, said. The source declined to be named as the individual was not authorized to discuss the issue.

“Whoever disparages the honor of the Knesset is not worthy of the Knesset’s respect,” wrote Edelstein at the time, after the Knesset was informed, according to a spokesman, of Hollande’s cancellation. Instead, the report said, Hollande had opted to address a group of university students.

“International leaders cannot belittle the Knesset, the elected parliament of the State of Israel, and ignore it. As speaker of the Knesset I am determined to protect the dignity of our nation and its representatives, the MKs. I will not allow Israeli democracy to be humiliated and turned into a doormat,” he wrote further.

At the time, a spokeswoman for the French embassy in Tel Aviv, Sonia Barbry, claimed that Hollande’s itinerary had not yet been finalized, and called the Speaker’s comments “Premature.”

“There is no need to react like this,” she said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “The president wants to show his attachment to Israeli democracy and its representatives and wants to go to the Knesset.”

Additionally, French daily Le Figaro reported Saturday that the country’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said that it was likely Hollande would speak at the Knesset. “I think he will,” Fabius said, when asked about the issue in a radio interview.

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