Pegasus scandal: a Franco-Israeli meeting to ease diplomatic tensions

The Pegasus software, marketed by the Israeli company NSO, allows, once installed in a mobile phone, to spy on the user of the device, accessing their mailboxes, their data, or activating the device remotely for the purpose of sound or image capture.

Joel Saget AFP / Archivos

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

Recently, secret talks took place between France and Israel in an attempt to defuse the crisis caused by the alleged use of Pegasus, the spyware developed by the Israeli group NSO to hack the phones of French President Emmanuel Macron and other officials. French, an Israeli news site revealed on Friday (October 22).

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With our correspondent in Jerusalem, 

Michel Paul

According to the Walla News portal, Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata recently met Emmanuel Bonne, the diplomatic adviser to the French president.

Information confirmed to AFP by the Élysée Palace.

Still according to the same source, France has decided since last July to freeze its diplomatic and security links with Israel until the matter is clarified. And this includes in particular the end of reciprocal visits between the two countries.

An investigation published from July 18

by a consortium of 17 international media revealed that the

Pegasus

software

would have made it possible to spy on the numbers of at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists or 65 leaders. company from different countries.

Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about this affair.

And the latter had sent his Minister of Defense Benny Gantz to Paris to present the first results of the investigation.

Untouchables

The mobile phones of at least five French ministers and a diplomat attached to the Elysée would have been infected by the spyware, several sources familiar with the matter told AFP at the end of September.

The phones were compromised in 2019 and 2020 and showed markers of infection with spyware marketed by Israeli company NSO during their review by French security services.

NSO markets the software but explains that it does not use it, which is done by its customers.

At this point, Israel is proposing that French phones be declared untouchable in the future in the NSO Group's negotiations with potential customers, as is already the case with US and UK phones.

We do not know if France accepted this proposal to end the crisis.

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  • Israel

  • France

  • Diplomacy

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • Benny Gantz

  • Naftali Bennett

  • Pegasus

Keywords: pegasus, france, nso, israeli, joel saget afp, use, meeting, place, group, crisis, scandal, tensions, talks, attempt, emmanuel macron