French president meets Abbas, stresses ‘fragility of Mideast’

Israel has no confidence that French President Hollande’s effort to restart an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue will actually work as long as the Palestinians and their leader Mahmoud Abbas reject direct talks and incite violence and terror. 

President Francois Hollande stressed the “fragility” of the Mideast situation with mounting violence in a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

In the meeting Thursday evening, the French president said that “recreating a political perspective is urgent,” a statement from Hollande’s office said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was set to meet with Abbas on Friday in Paris, but the meeting was postponed due to the death of Abbas’ brother.

The French statement noted the report this month by the Quartet of Mideast negotiators — the UN, US, European Union and Russia — that said Israel’s “settlement” expansion is eroding the viability of a Palestinian state and raises “legitimate questions” about its commitment to a two-state solution. It calls on Palestinians to “act decisively” to stop incitement to violence.

The French statement noted France’s wish for an international conference.

The Flawed and Failing French Initiative

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.

By: AP and World Israel News staff