Israel’s National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata secretly visited Paris in an attempt to defuse tensions between Israel and France over the use of Pegasus spyware developed by Israeli firm NSO Group to hack the phones of French President Emmanuel Macron and other senior French officials, reported news site Walla.
Following the French government’s decision to suspend some diplomatic, security, and intelligence ties with Israel in the midst of the crisis, Hulata paid a visit to Paris, where he explained the situation and presented options for resolving the problem, according to the report.
The abuse of NSO software has become a huge diplomatic headache for the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The crisis resulted in a partial suspension of Israel-France diplomatic, security, and intelligence cooperation, as well as the suspension of high-level bilateral visits.
The international crisis surrounding Israel’s Pegasus spyware, which is meant to spy on terrorists, erupted in July after the media revealed that the malware was also used to monitor politicians, businesses, activists, journalists, and opposition figures around the world.
A list of approximately 50,000 prospective surveillance targets worldwide included Iraqi and South African presidents, Pakistani, Egyptian, and Moroccan prime ministers, senior Indian leaders and journalists, and other prominent leaders.