Netanyahu to French FM: Direct talks better than peace summit

Netanyahu tells French Foreign Minister that encouraging Abbas to sit down for direct talks would be more useful than a peace summit.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari, Canada,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday spoke to French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, in the wake of the international peace summit that was held in Paris.

A diplomatic source said that Netanyahu reiterated Israel's positions and stressed that it would be better if France and its partners would encourage Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to accept Netanyahu’s invitation to sit down for direct negotiations.

Netanyahu also stressed in the conversation with Ayrault that the French peace initiative could harm regional efforts which have the potential to succeed.

During Friday’s summit, which was not attended by Israeli or Palestinian Arab representatives, the international community committed to try and push Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks under a French-led initiative.

Indirect peace talks between the two sides collapsed more than two years ago, and Ayrault warned that the diplomatic void meant the prospect of a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict was in "serious danger", according to AFP.

The talks in Paris were aimed at laying the ground for a fully-fledged peace conference to be held by the end of the year.

At the meeting, representatives from 28 countries, the Arab League, European Union and United Nations discussed ways in which the international community could "help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace," according to a joint statement.

Despite a widespread sense of skepticism that the French initiative will succeed where so many others have failed, Ayrault said the world could not "fold its arms and do nothing".

"Everyone knows the risks of this impasse, there have been three wars in six years in Gaza and there is currently daily violence. It is essential that we take action urgently," he said.

Opening the conference, French President Francois Hollande had urged Israel and the Palestinians to make a "courageous choice" for peace.

Israel, for its part, said the French effort would only cause the Palestinians to harden their positions.

"The Paris meeting will go down in history as having only hardened Palestinian positions and pushed peace further away," foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement after the meeting.

Ayrault said the talks were focused on the 2002 Saudi-led Arab peace initiative, under which Arab leaders offered to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria occupied and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israel to date has rejected the plan due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)








top