As French President Nicholas Sarkozy departed Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, shots rang out. A quick assessment revealed that one of the Israeli members of Sarkozy's security detail had turned his weapon on himself, apparently committing suicide.
The victim, whose name has not been revealed at his family's request, was in his early 30s and had been a border guard for eight years after his release from the Israel Defense Forces. He was a member of the Druze community.
The incident followed a three-day visit of President Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, to Israel. While in-country, Sarkozy spoke before the Knesset, Israel's house of parliament, where he rallied against the building of settlements, advocated an undivided Jerusalem as a capital for both Israel and Palestine, and reasserted France's commitment to protecting Israel's security.
Photo sourced from the Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons License)
During his visit, Sarkozy also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and toured the West Bank, after having met with Arab leaders in Syria and Lebanon earlier this week.
Words from the Blogosphere–
Daniel Levy of the Prospects for Peace blog and Director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative at The Century Foundation compares the Knesset speeches of French President Sarkozy and US President George W. Bush, during his visit last month.
“Two Presidents, two speeches, one leader:
– President Bush on the borders for a 2 state solution: ___________.
– President Sarkozy: “It is not possible to have peace without a negotiated border based on the 1967 lines with an exchange of territories.”
– President Bush on settlements: ___________.
– President Sarkozy: “Peace cannot be achieved without a total and immediate cessation of the settlements.”
– President Bush on Jerusalem's future status: ___________.
– President Sarkozy: “Peace cannot be achieved without the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of two states and guaranteeing freedom of access to holy sites for all religions.”
– President Bush on the Palestinian refugee issue: ___________.
– President Sarkozy: “Peace cannot be achieved without solving the problem of the Palestinian refugees, while respecting the identity and purpose of Israel.”
– President Bush on Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian, or Israeli-Lebanese peace talks: _________.
– President Sarkozy: “(France) is ready to organize on its soil all the talks that could lead to (peace), whether in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the Syrian-Israeli dialogue, or the talks that will have to resume, one day soon I hope, between Israel and Lebanon.”
Other bloggers were less concerned with the political content of Sarkozy's visit and focused more on the visuals that it presented. Carla Bruni, the President's third wife who works professionally as a singer and model, drew significant attention from the ever appreciative citizen journalists of Israel.
Simply Jews observes:
“Carla Bruni appears to be accompanied by a French president, one Nicolas Sarkozy… The immediate effects of this singular event:
1. The quantities of drool emanating from the paparazzi, journalists, assorted officials and Israeli male population in general postponed the expected government announcement of drought and drastic water economy measures.
2. The attack on Iranian nuclear sites, invasion of Gaza, decapitation of Hezbollah and other miscellaneous acts of usual Zionist aggression are delayed indefinitely or until further notice.
3. Shimon Peres was seen doing 90 push-ups in the VIP lounge of Ben-Gurion airport, with Carla and their aids counting, Dom Perignon being uncorked in the background.”
Dion Nissenbaum of the Checkpoint Jerusalem blog joins Simply Jews in welcoming Ms. Bruni's arrival.
“Carla Mania has come to Israel. After charming the Brits in March and winning fawning praise from President Bush earlier this month, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the accomplished singer and successful model who is sometimes referred to as France's first lady, has brought her allure to Jerusalem. One French magazine has dubbed her “La Presidente.”
Her husband, President What's-His-Name, is doing his best to make some news of his own.”
Israelity Bites comments darkly on Ms. Bruni's role in the shooting.
“Some jested that the security guard lost his footing while straining to see Madame Carla, the French first lady, who has had a Jackie Kennedy dazzle on the populace at large. Israel Radio said the soldier who was shot was stationed 100 meters to 200 meters away. Two women soldiers who witnessed the shooting were treated for shock, the radio said.
Israel's volunteer medical service Zaka said the soldier apparently committed suicide. But other media reports said he may have fainted from the heat, discharging his gun accidentally.”
Read More About Recent Visits to Israel by Heads of State–
- Going Green with Gore (May 2008)
- Bush's Final Presidential Visit (May 2008)
- What's Carter Doing in the Middle East? (April 2008)
- President Bush Visits Israel (January 2008)
- Lebanon: Condoleeza Rice's Surprise Visit (June 2008)