PA official:
French initiative will continue with or without Israel's consent

PLO member Ahmad Majdalani says international peace conference led by France will take place whether Israel likes it or not.

Elad Benari ,

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

A Palestinian Arab official on Saturday stressed that an international conference led by France that aims to jump start stalled peace talks with Israel would take place "whether the Israeli government consents or not."

Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee and associate of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, made the remarks in an interview with the Donia Al-Watan newspaper and was quoted by i24news.

France’s initiative aims to convene an international peace conference by the end of the year. Israeli officials recently reiterated Israel’s firm opposition to the initiative. Israel insists that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks with the PA, which the PA refuses.

The PA, for its part, strongly supports France's approach to reviving the peace talks, even though it has continued to seek an alternative in case the United States may seek to modify it – namely in the form of a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli “settlements”.

Despite Israel’s rejection of the initiative, French officials recently indicated that the country will not stop trying to promote its initiative.

"The negative Israeli response was predictable, and we will take Israel's position into consideration. However, we plan to carry on promoting our peace initiative," the officials stressed.

Negotiations between Israel and the PA have been at a standstill since a U.S.-led initiative collapsed in April 2014, when the PA breached the conditions of the talks by applying to join international institutions.