Israel rejects French peace initiative

While France aims to host a summit to arrive at a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli officials have made it clear Israel will not participate, especially since the initiative offers the Palestinians a state in return for doing nothing.

Israel has officially announced Monday that it will not be sending its representatives to a diplomatic summit hosted by the French in December, part of Paris’ initiative to bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, mostly through international pressure on Israel.

Acting National Security Advisor and Head of the National Security Council Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Jacob Nagel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic envoy and close confidant attorney Yitzhak Molcho met in Jerusalem with French Special Envoy to the Middle East Pierre Vimont.

Vimont presented France’s position on advancing the French initiative, including the convening of an international conference at the end of the year.

Nagel and Molcho clarified Israel’s “unequivocal position – that true progress in the peace process and achieving an agreement will come only through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and that any other initiative only pushes the region further away from this process,” a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The two Israeli officials “made it clear to the French envoy that Israel will not participate in any international conference convened contrary to its position.”

The French diplomatic 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.

“Promoting such a conference will make the possibility of advancing the peace process much less likely since it will allow Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority to continue avoiding the decision to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions,” the statement read, a restating of Israel’s official policy over the past months when responding to various international initiatives.

Netanyahu has also repeatedly stated that he is willing to meet with Abbas at any time and any place, without preconditions and for direct talks.

“Israel is certain and expects that France will not advance a conference or process that contradicts the official position of the State of Israel,” the statement concluded.

The French envoy is slated to meet with Abbas in Ramallah on Monday evening.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News