French officials said on Sunday that they will continue to press ahead with plans to host a multilateral Middle East peace conference later this year, despite hearing, quite bluntly, that Israel is displeased with the idea.
French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to promote the “French Initiative” – a diplomatic project that seeks to bring global attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and find consensus on how to move forward with a two-state solution.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated his displeasure with the French peace initiative, saying that foreign power involvement would give Palestine an “escape hatch” to avoid recognizing Israel.
“Our experience with history shows that only this way did we achieve peace with Egypt and Jordan, and that any other attempt only makes peace more remote and gives the Palestinians an escape hatch to avoid confronting the root of the conflict, which is non-recognition of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Palestinians demand a sovereign state with established borders based on 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as their capital and a right of return for refugees.
Recently, Netanyahu has said he is willing to talk “anywhere, anytime” with the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, “without preconditions” — although the prime minister also insisted Abbas recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” for talks to move forward.
(RT, WASHINGTON POST, PC)