Jerusalem rejects French ‘peace’ initiative ahead of FM visit to Israel


Prior to the French FM’s visit with PM Netanyahu on Sunday, Dr. Dore Gold, the Foreign Ministry director general, explains Israel’s opposition to the French initiative.

By Arutz Sheva Staff


A top Israeli official on Friday reiterated the country’s opposition to a French attempt to resurrect the peace process with the Palestinian Authority (PA), ahead of a visit by France’s foreign minister on Sunday.

Paris will hold an international ministerial meeting on May 30 to try to revive peace talks that have been frozen since a US-brokered initiative was torpedoed by the PA in April 2014, when it signed a unity agreement with Hamas.

The Israelis and Palestinians will not be invited to the meeting, which is aimed at discussing ways in which international players can encourage peace.

The French initiative calls to relaunch peace talks based on the 2002 Saudi peace plans, which would have Israel make massive concessions in exchange for paper promises not to attack from its Arab neighbors.

Not only has Israel rejected the new French push, but the US likewise has been reluctant to support the move.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday in Jerusalem before traveling to Ramallah to meet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli foreign ministry director generalFrench told The Jerusalem Post newspaper Friday that the French proposal had “many problems.”

Gold cited the support last month by France for a UNESCO resolution that “rejects the historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem.”

The April 16 resolution by the UN’s cultural body removed any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, and instead only referred to it as Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel accused UNESCO of “distorting history” and Gold said because of the vote “it should not come as a surprise that Israel rejects the French initiative and the political horizon it aspires to ultimately expose.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has described the wording of the resolution as “unfortunate” but insisted it did not change French policy.

Gold also stressed that if the French initiative included Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, it “would be a very important factor.”

But on the substance, he said the initiative would not get “us any closer to a negotiated solution, and in fact makes a negotiated solution more distant.”

The Israeli government supports a resumption of direct bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians, rather than a multilateral approach.

AFP contributed to this report.


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