Israel’s PM rejects French initiative, having world powers without Israeli or PA representatives in attendance, and suggests alternative: Direct, face-to-face talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Paris.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected a multilateral French “peace initiative” as he met his French counterpart on Monday, offering instead to hold direct talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Paris.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he would speak to President Francois Hollande about Netanyahu’s proposal.
Direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority are “the only way to proceed to peace,” Netanyahu said. He offered “a different French initiative” of face-to-face talks with Abbas in Paris.
Valls is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority to advance his country’s plan to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
The “peace conference,” scheduled for June 3, has been panned by Israel but welcomed by the PA. It would essentially involve world powers – without Israeli or PA representatives in attendance – deciding on a solution to the conflict, and would be followed by a second conference in the autumn to which Israelis and Palestinians would be invited.
France says the goal is to eventually restart negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu in particular has criticized the initiative and called for direct negotiations between the two sides.
Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.
Netanyahu has repeatedly offered to meet Abbas for direct talks, but the PA leader has declined to respond, instead taking unilateral actin via the United Nations and other international bodies, in violation of previous agreements with Israel.
AFP contributed to this report.
View original Arutz Sheva publication at: