Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has made what is seen as a gesture of peace towards French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier. His decision to meet Barnier in person is thought to be an effort to paper over the cracks in Franco-Israeli relations after Sharon said in July that France was home to what he called the “wildest anti-Semitism”.
Sharon later backed away from his call for French jews to emigrate to Israel and paid tribute to French efforts to stop the wave of attacks on Jewish targets in the country. Barnier has been doing his part to promote peace too, meeting with the Israeli President Mosche Katzav and visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jersusalem. He said Europe must learn lessons from what happened: “In this terrible memorial centre it’s here that we recognise those millions who were lost in the brutal darkness of those darkest nights. Now their sacrifice lives on but their example demands from us that we never forget.” Barnier then laid a wreath by the Eternal Flame and stood for a minute of silence.