Pop idol Justin Bieber in row with Israeli PM over 'PR' meeting

Singer Justin Bieber poses at the premiere of the documentary "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" at Nokia theatre in Los Angeles February 8, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters FilePhoto)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to cancel a meeting with international pop sensation Justin Bieber, on the eve of the teenage idol's first concert in Israel, according to local media.

The meeting's cancellation came after Bieber reportedly declined to take part in the meeting, if Israeli children traumatized by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza last week would be present.

Although Bieber's manager told the Ynet news site that "nobody contacted us for a meeting with the Prime Minister," Israeli media speculated the performer's no-show may be related to the prime minister's intention of using the get-together to push Israel's case.

"We received a request from Bieber to meet with the prime minister. Netanyahu asked to have children from the south attend the meeting in order to encourage them and create a PR effect," Ynet quoted a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

Netanyahu had reportedly offered free tickets to the concert for children, and siblings of those who were riding on the school bus that was hit by an anti-tank rocket fired by Hamas militants last Thursday. A 16-year-old student sustained critical injuries in the attack.

Bieber fans are expected to pack his concert Thursday night, and paparazzi dogged his every move during visits to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and other tourist sites.

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