French leader pushes two-state solution in meeting with Netanyahu

Macron urged Netanyahu to embrace the establishment of two states with Jerusalem as their shared capital.

During their first official meeting on Sunday, newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return to the negotiating table and accept a two-state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital. The French leader repeated his criticism of the expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, which he described as potential obstacles to peace.

“I call for a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the framework of the search for a solution of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in recognized, secure borders with Jerusalem as the capital,” Macron told the media.

“I hope everything will be done for negotiations to move forward,” he added.

“We share the same desire for a peaceful Middle East,” Netanyahu said, without elaborating.

Macron condemned the terror attack last Friday in which two Israeli police officers at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City lost their lives. Macron’s office said the French leader, while concerned about Israel’s security, worries that Netanyahu will walk away from his public support for a two-state solution.

Unlike his predecessors, Macron has not expressed any enthusiasm for a new round of French-led Middle Eastern peace negotiations after a previous French diplomatic initiative failed earlier this year. The new French leader said he was prepared to facilitate new negotiations, but stopped short of offering any specifics.

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Netanyahu and Macron also discussed the strengthening of economic ties between Israel and France as well as fighting radicalism in Syria and in other countries.

Earlier in the day, at a commemoration ceremony for French Jewish Holocaust victims, Macron condemned France’s involvement in the Holocaust and criticized those, like Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front party, who attempt to mitigate the involvement of French authorities who sent thousands of French Jews to the death camps.

“It was indeed France that organized this,” Macron said, referring to the mass arrests of Jewish citizens by French police authorities who cooperated with the Nazis.

Moving to contemporary times, Macron stated that anti-Zionism is a modern version of anti-Semitism. The French president pledged to fight anti-Semitism in France and urged an extensive investigation into a case involving a French Jewish woman, Lucy Sarah Halimi, who was murdered in April by a Parisian Muslim.

“Your struggle is our struggle, “Netanyahu told Macron. “The zealots of militant Islam, who seek to destroy you, seek to destroy us as well.”

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News