French seeking ways to force revival of Israeli-PA peace talks

The French are persisting with their initiative to revive the stalled diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff
Netanyahu Fabius

PM Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. (Haim Zach/GPO)

The French are proceeding with their attempts to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are working to establish a new international body comprised of the US and European and Arab countries to promote the failed diplomatic process.

Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, warned Monday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could explode “at any moment” and the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group could interfere at any time.

Fabius told a group of reporters that “if and when it explodes, it’s very, very, very problematic for the whole region and for the world.”

Every radical group,” especially in Gaza, can take advantage of the deadlocked peace process, and it would be lamentable if ISIS— “the most radical of the radicals” — used this as a pretext for violence, he stated.

Fabius said he discussed the possibility of moving forward on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with key leaders during a recent Mideast visit, including Arab League envoys, Egypt’s president, Jordan’s king, Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Fabius suggested that a new international body, including Arab nations, be formed to help spur a peace deal, saying “it could be sort of a Quartet plus.”

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The Quartet — which includes the US, the European Union (EU), the United Nations and Russia — was formed in 2002 to try to mediate an end to the decades-old conflict and encourage the formation of a Palestinian state. The peace efforts have been stalled for years and show no signs of resuming.

“It’s very difficult for each party to make the last concession,” Fabius said. He suggested adding the Arab states that are not part of the Quartet into an international body in order to help facilitate a conclusion because they are key players in the region.

However, this assertion may prove to be erroneous, as several Arab monarchs and dictators have lost their authority in recent years in the so-called Arab Spring. Relying on any of them for a long-term process may be basing the plan on shaky foundations.

Fabius said he discussed this idea and France’s proposal for a possible UN Security Council resolution to set a framework for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations during his trip. “There was a very positive welcome on the Arab side and particularly on the Palestinian side,” he added.

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

Fabius, however, was less enthusiastic about the Israeli response and accused Netanyahu of being “more difficult,” saying Israel didn’t want “any international diktat.”

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Fabius appeared to step back from France’s proposal to present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council (UNSC) that would set a timetable for reaching a final Israeli-Palestinian deal, saying the resolution “is a tool, it’s not an end by itself.”

“The first thing is this question of getting back to negotiations and having this international accompanying body and if a resolution — if and when a resolution is necessary — we will think about it,” he said.

Netanyahu told Fabius during his visit in Jerusalem earlier this month that Israel will rebuff any international attempt to force a resolution that would hinder Israel’s security

A peace that does not ensure Israel’s security “will simply not survive and we will not agree to it,” Netanyahu affirmed.  “Our concerns are not pretexts or excuses. They are genuine. A peace deal that ignores these realities will be swept away by the winds of extremism and violence that blow throughout the Middle East.”