Netanyahu: French initiative reduces chance of peace

Responding to reports on the French initiative in January, Prime Minister Netanyahu rejected the French initiative, saying Israel would not accept a process that would harm its security and force it to make concessions, while the Palestinians refuse to negotiate.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected again the French initiative to hold an international conference in Paris on the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that such initiatives allow the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations thereby making peace more remote.

Netanyahu made the remarks while meeting with on Monday with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

Responding to reports on the French initiative in January, Netanyahu rejected the French initiative, saying Israel would not accept a process that would harm its security and force it to make concessions, while the Palestinians refuse to negotiate.

“This will be an incentive for the Palestinians to come and not compromise,” Netanyahu warned.

“The substance of negotiations is compromise and the French initiative, as it has been reported, in effect gives the Palestinians in advance reasons not to do so,” the premier explained, expressing his hope that “we will see a sobering up on this issue.”

Netanyahu said that Israel will continue to fight the French initiative, reiterating that Israel’s position “is very clear: we are prepared to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions and without dictated conditions.”

Read  Belgian parliament hosts exhibit accusing Israel of abusing Palestinian minors; Israeli envoy, Jews protest

The French have long been promoting international initiatives to coerce Israel into a diplomatic process that would harm its security, including endorsing a European Union (EU) condemnation of Israeli policies.

France has scheduled an international conference in France for May 30, to which Israel and the Palestinians were not invited, but have reportedly canceled the event until further notice.

Beyond the French initiative, the two discussed bilateral relations between Israel and Belgium. Reynders again thanked Netanyahu for Israel’s offer of assistance and cooperation following the Brussels terrorist attack in March, in which Muslim terrorists attacked the airport and a train, killing 35 and wounding hundreds.

They also discussed the threat posed by Islamic terror to the region and to Europe, a threat shared by both countries.