Ahead of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ visit to Israel, Netanyahu declared he will stand strong against international pressure that attempts to push the Jewish state towards a diplomatic resolution that would compromise its security.
By: AP and World Israel Staff
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will arrive in Israel on Sunday to promote the French peace initiative to bring the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process to a resolution within the next 18 months, but Israel’s leadership is not impressed by the initiative and is not welcoming on the diplomatic pressure France is drumming up in the international community.
Israel’s prime minister said on Sunday at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel will “fiercely reject” any international proposals supposedly meant to bring about a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, but which in fact would compromise Israel’s security.
“The international proposals being made to us, which – in effect – they are trying to force on us, there is no reference to the security needs of the State of Israel and our other national interests. They are simply trying to push us into accepting indefensible borders while completely ignoring what will be on the other side of the border. Of course, this will lead to the results that we see and that we experience from the Gaza Strip and from Lebanon,” where terrorists have taken up positions along Israel’s border. “We will not allow this to happen,” Netanyahu vowed.
“The way to reach agreements is only through bilateral negotiations, and we strongly reject attempts to force international diktat on us in regard to both security and peace. Peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations between the parties that will take into account our national interests, especially security,” he declared.
Fabius is coming to the region to sound out leaders about a planned UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution that aims to restart peace talks after a more than year-long lull.
Palestinian officials and French diplomats have said the proposal would call for basing the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War. It also would set an 18-month deadline for an agreement.
Israel rejects a return to its pre-1967 lines, saying they are indefensible and would compromise Israel’s existence. It also opposes internationally imposed deadlines.
Two decades of talks brokered mainly by the United States have failed to produce a two-state solution. The latest peace push, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry, fell short in April 2014 after nine months of tense negotiations and the gaps between Israeli and Palestinian positions remain vast.
French Counter-Productive Measures
In Jordan, Fabius declared that “France will not give up Israeli-Palestinian peace effort.”
“France is one of the few countries in fact that does not give up in this situation…out of friendship both for Palestinians and for the Israelis,” Fabius said during a joint press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, in Amman on Sunday, AFP reports.
The French minister added that the “primary purpose of this visit is to identify how we can help to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
The French are threatening to unilaterally recognize the “State of Palestine” through a UNSC resolution if the negotiating parties do not arrive at a solution by the 18-month deadline.
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.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely dismissed the French initiative as ” counter-productive” because “it gives the illusion to the Palestinians that they will get something from the international community without having to make concessions,” she was quoted as having told the French Le Figaro on Friday.
Fabius was in Cairo on Saturday. He is scheduled to meet with Palestinian leaders on Sunday and then with the Israeli leadership.