Benjamin Netanyahu in France Thursday to meet Macron

This is his first visit to France since his return to power. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyaho “will make an official visit to France where he will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron” this Thursday, his office said in a statement.

Netanyahu, who previously served as prime minister from 2009 to 2021, returned to power last month leading a coalition including right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

The announcement of this visit scheduled until February 4 comes as Israeli-Palestinian violence has increased in recent days. In the aftermath of Israel’s deadliest raid in years in the West Bank, followed by rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, a Palestinian killed seven people in East Jerusalem on Friday.

Washington calls for de-escalation

On Saturday another injured two Israelis and on Sunday Israeli guards killed a Palestinian in the West Bank. On Monday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in Hebron, in the south of this territory, according to the Palestinian authorities. The army said they shot at a fleeing driver.

The violence raises fears of a new spiral and calls for restraint have multiplied around the world. French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday urged Israelis and Palestinians to “avoid measures that could fuel the spiral of violence”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss steps for de-escalation. “We now urge all parties to take urgent steps for a return to calm and de-escalation,” he told a press conference alongside Mr Netanyahu. Blinken is due to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in Ramallah, in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

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