Abbas ignores Israel, meets Kerry in Paris to push peace talks

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continues to reject Israeli overtures to sit down and restart peace negotiations, yet at the same time is trying to push the biased French peace initiative.

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday arrived again in Paris to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in another effort to promote the French-led peace initiative.

His latest visit to France comes a week after he met with French President Francois Hollande in Paris.

Abbas and Kerry reportedly discussed further options for making progress in the stalled diplomatic negotiations with Israel, while Abbas urged Kerry to exert more international pressure on Israel to make more concessions.

Later on Saturday, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat, who was present at the meeting, said at a press conference that Abbas had told Kerry and Ayrault during the meetings that he fully supports the French initiative, the PA-owned WAFA news agency reported.

Abbas reportedly also equated alleged Israeli terrorists to recent Islamic State (ISIS) terror attacks in Europe, saying there was no difference between “criminals” who kill a journalist to “other criminals” who “burned the boy Dawabsha.”

Abbas was relating to an incident that occurred last August in which 18-month-old toddler Ali Dawabsha and his parents were killed, and his four-year-old brother was seriously injured when their house in the Palestinian village of Duma, south of the city of Shechem (Nablus), was set on fire, allegedly by Israeli terrorists.

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France has been spearheading an effort to relaunch the stalemate diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The French initiative entails indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, at least in the beginning, with international arbitration and an international resolution to pressure Israel into concessions that could hinder its security.

France held an international summit at the beginning of June to discuss possible solutions, while Israel and the Palestinians were not invited to attend. No real conclusion was reached at the summit, while diplomats nevertheless vowed vaguely to reinvigorate a peace process that has been all but dead for two years thanks to the Palestinian’s refusal to meet with Israeli leaders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to pursue peace and has repeatedly stated that the only way to achieve peace is through direct negotiations. At the same time, Palestinian leaders won’t engage in direct talks with Israel and have vowed to never again do so.

Addressing the European Parliament later in June, President Reuven Rivlin said that Israel seeks peace and supports a process, but there is no substitute to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The French initiative suffers from fundamental faults. The attempt to return to negotiations for negotiations’ sake, not only does not bring us near the long-awaited solution, but rather drags us further away from it,” he stated.

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By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News