Sarkozy wanted to be part of Shalit deal

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2011
Gilad Shalit on the day of his release

Gilad Shalit on the day of his release

The French president has blamed last month's outburst against Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu on France being "left out" of the deal to free a captured IDF soldier.

Gilad Shalit, who holds dual Israeli and French citizenship, was released form the clutches of Hamas in October after more than five years of captivity.

His freedom came in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

But according to Ha'aretz, Nicholas Sarkozy was angry that his government played no part in negotiating the deal, unlike Germany and Egypt.

He reportedly said to a group of French Jewish leaders that this was the cause of his condemnation of Mr Netanyahu, whom he called a liar. The remarks were made during a private conversation with President Obama, but were picked up by the international media.

Ha'aretz reported that Mr Sarkozy was frustrated after his offer of a French aircraft to transport Sergeant Shalit from Egypt into Israel was turned down, as was a proposal for the French ambassador to Israel to be present as the soldier was welcomed back to his family home.

Mr Sarkozy defended his comments last month, explaining that they had been taken out of context.

Last updated: 9:40pm, December 7 2011