France trying to get Netanyahu and Abbas to meet?

Channel 2 News reports that France is trying to organize a regional conference on security that will force Netanyahu and Abbas to meet.

Elad Benari ,

Abbas and Netanyahu (archive)
Abbas and Netanyahu (archive)
Flash 90

France is continuing its efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and is attempting to bring together Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas for a meeting, Channel 2 News reported on Monday.

According to the report, France is trying to get the two to meet as part of a regional conference to be held in Paris. The idea was reportedly put together after the visit to France last week of opposition chairman Yitzhak Herzog, where he met President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

In order to get Netanyahu and Abbas to meet, Paris is initiating a regional conference on security, Channel 2 revealed. The conference would include all the leaders in the Middle East, including Netanyahu and Abbas. The idea for a regional conference has been floated around in the past by both Herzog and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, but other similar initiatives have thus far failed.

Peace talks between Israel and the PA have been stalled since 2014, when Abbas unilaterally applied to join international institutions in breach of the conditions of the talks.

The conference is not the first initiative taken by France with regards to Israel-PA talks. The country last year introduced an initiative for a UN Security Council resolution that would force Israel into an 18-month negotiation period with the PA.

Abbas last week continued his verbal attacks on Israel, claiming during a meeting with Israeli reporters, that snubbed his efforts for peace talks.

State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner later made clear, however, that the United States is not familiar with Abbas's alleged attempts two months ago to meet with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has time and time again called Abbas to return to the negotiating table, but Abbas has instead imposed preconditions on peace talks with Israel, including demanding that Israel halt construction in Judea and Samaria, release terrorists from its prisons and agree to a timeline of no more than a year for talks.