France to Begin Push for UN Security Council Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Meanwhile, the European Union is considering new ways to coax Israel back to the negotiations table, including

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Credit: Reuters

France plans to start discussions with partners in the "coming weeks" on a United Nations Security Council resolution to lay out the parameters for ending the Middle East conflict, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday.

"I hope that the partners who were reluctant will not be reluctant anymore," said Fabius, referring to the United States, which has traditionally shielded its ally Israel from any action at the United Nations.

The United States has said it would "reassess" its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a stand last week against Palestinian statehood during his election campaign.

In December, the United States voted against a Palestinian drafted resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state by late 2017.

France, along with Britain and Germany, had also drafted a Security Council resolution late last year to set parameters for ending the conflict, but the text was put on the back burner until after the Israeli elections, which took place last week.

"We have said that these parameters have to be defined and recognized by the Security Council and that obviously the two parties have to discuss, but the discussion will be accompanied by an international effort," Fabius told a small group of reporters at the United Nations in New York. "Today nothing has moved forward, still development of settlements, the Palestinians are in a more and more difficult situation and we cannot stay like that," Fabius said.

EU weighs new methods to coax Israel back to peace talks

Meanwhile, the European Union is assessing new ways to push Israel back to the peace negotiating table with the Palestinians for a deal based on a two-state solution, working in tandem with the United States, EU officials say.

The EU is exploring new diplomatic terrain and could consider ways to discourage Europeans from buying products from Israeli settlements it believes are illegal.

Netanyahu's election rhetoric has fueled doubts about Israel's commitment to a two-state solution — a cornerstone of EU and U.S. policies for ending the Middle East conflict.

"We will not forget or ignore what was being said during the campaign and in particular some of the incendiary statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu," German EU lawmaker Reinhard Buetikofer told The Associated Press.

The Europeans are aware that the rhetoric could remain at fever pitch for the next month as the Israeli leader negotiates a new coalition government and they are reluctant to move too far too fast.

"We first have to wait for the policy that new Israeli government is going to set out," Buetikofer said.

Netanyahu said ahead of his reelection he would not permit a Palestinian state to be created under his watch and promised to go on building settlements on occupied lands.

Most countries view Israel's settlement building on occupied land as illegal. UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry told the UN Security Council on Thursday that continued settlement building may have already killed a possible two-state solution.

On Friday, Israel's prime minister's bureau announced that Israel will allow the transfer of hundreds of millions of shekels in tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

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