French foreign minister to arrive in Israel to push peace initiative

In an effort to boost a French peace initiative at the UN, Laurent Fabius will visit the region this weekend. Israel fears this is another attempt to force an unfavorable solution.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News
Hollande Netanyahu

French President Francois Hollande (L) and PM Netanyahu. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will visit Israel over the weekend as part of a regional visit to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Fabius will reportedly promote the French peace initiative to bring the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process to a resolution within the next 18 months, after which the French are threatening to unilaterally recognize the “State of Palestine” through a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution.

Israel has repeatedly rejected external and international pressure to force an agreement that runs counter to its interests, and Jerusalem is wary of the French plans.

The Jerusalem Post quotes government officials as saying that while Israel has not seen a draft of the proposal, there is concern that “this could go in a negative direction.”

Taking the Obama administration’s increasing frustration with Netanyahu into consideration, reports indicate, the French are counting on the US not to veto their upcoming motion at the UNSC.

The weight of a Security Council resolution, which is legally binding, would increase international pressure on Israel.

Several initiatives to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been introduced over the years. In January, the Palestinian Authority (PA) submitted a resolution to the UNSC to end Israel’s “occupation” of Judea and Samaria by the end of 2017, but it was turned down after the PA failed to garner the required nine votes.

On Israel’s part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated on several occasions that he is committed to a two-state solution and that his government seeks a peaceful solution with the Palestinians. These overtures have been repeatedly rejected by the Palestinians.