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Protest grows about Israeli participation in Book Fair


Paris : Protest is growing here over an invitation by President Nicolas Sarkozy for Israel to take a prominent role in the forthcoming Paris Book Fair in March, several sources indicated.
The French President issued the invitation to Israel to attend the prestigious event as he was addressing the annual dinner of the Jewish representative body CRIF here on Wednesday night.

Sarkozy also said that Israel should join the Francophone group of nations and he called for primary school children each to adopt “the memory” of a Jewish child that disappeared in the Holocaust, a plan viewed here as practically unworkable.

The invitation to attend the book fair has provoked negative reactions among a number of intellectuals, including some Jewish and Israeli writers.

Pro-Palestinian groups have also issued statements condemning the French Presidents move.

In a statement Friday, the Euro-Palestine group indicated that Israeli writer Benny Ziffer said he was joining a growing boycott of the Paris Book Fair.

Ziffer said that he found it “indecent that Israeli writers should come to Paris to receive honours while Palestinian mothers remain blocked in the cold at check-points” put up by Israeli forces.

Ziffers words became a reality Friday as it was learned that another Palestinian woman, Fawzya Qabb, 67, had died in an ambulance because Israeli soldiers had blocked her passage to a hospital.

Such tragedies are regular occurrences at the many checkpoints and blockades Israel maintains around the Occupied Palestinian Territories.