Netanyahu Vows to Convince France to Renege Threat to Recognize Palestine

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of their meeting in Jerusalem. June 21, 2015. Credit: AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would work to convince the French to revoke their threat to recognize a Palestinian state from their new initiative to convene an international peace summit. Netanyahu told the government's weekly meeting Sunday that he believes his efforts will succeed.

"You must have heard the proposal emanating from French circles, to convene an international summit with a threat at its end, that if it doesn’t succeed then France in effect will largely adopt the Palestinian stance," he said.

"This serves as an incentive for the Palestinians to come [to such a summit] and not compromise. The essence of negotiations is compromise, and the French proposal, as it was reported, in fact gives the Palestinians the reasons not to do so in advance," he added.  

"I assess that there will be a sobering up regarding this matter," Netanyahu said, adding that "in any event, we will make effort so that there is a sobering up here, and our position is very clear: We are prepared to enter direct negotiation without preconditions and without dictated terms," he said.

France's Fabius announced the initiative on Friday, saying that if the new push to organize an international summitt failed, Paris would officially recognize a Palestinian state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that he welcomes the French initiative

"Unfortunately, [Israeli] settlement construction continues," Fabius told a conference of French diplomats in Paris. "We must not let the two-state solution unravel. It is our responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council."

Fabius noted that France hopes the international peace summit will be attended by Israelis and Palestinians, as well as other international actors like the U.S., EU states and Arab nations.

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