An unidentified man threatened to jump off the roof of a French law firm hosting an international conference on the Mideast conflict if former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, a special guest at the conference, did not vacate the premises immediately.
Unconfirmed reports said the man was a Palestinian and further demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in addition to Ya'alon's departure.
The conference, organized in Paris by the Israel-France Organization under the banner of 'new patterns of conflict resolution,' drew the participation of several prominent Israeli delegates, including Ya'alon, Maj. Gen. (res) Yaakov Amidror and Itamar Marcus, director of the media watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch. Conference organizers told Ynet that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu had also confirmed his attendance.
Under the banner of discussing new approaches to resolving the conflict, the conference progressed smoothly until just after Marcus took the podium and attendees were informed that a man had fortified himself on the rooftop and vowed to jump to his death if the conference was not halted.
After several minutes of commotion in the hall, the conference organizers decided to take a 15 minute break. Upon resuming the session they informed the audience that the man was still on the roof and was refusing to come down until Ya'alon was made to leave the site.
"The participants didn't want to end the session so we decided to break for an early lunch," Marcus told Ynet in a telephone call from Paris.
"It took us by surprise to hear what was going on with Amidror and Ya'alon sitting right there in the front
row. After we exited the building we could see the large number of police and firefighter units that had assembled nearby and we could even see the man on the roof, whose identity I do not know," he said.
Marcus added that conference organizers had received threats from left-wing organizations and Palestinian groups who demanded that the gathering be canceled.