20 March 2018

Israel moves to preempt planned Paris peace meet

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Israel is trying to convince countries not to take part in a Paris-hosted Mideast peace conference slated for later this month, Israeli media reported Thursday. reports that, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said the planned conference would fail to resolve the perennial Palestine-Israel conflict.

According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, he also fears that decisions made at the Paris meeting could eventually take the form of a U.N. Security Council draft resolution.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed government official as saying that Israeli officials were working to convince countries not to attend the planned event -- or at least to refrain from supporting a U.N. draft resolution.

After the Security Council voted in December to declare Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal, the Israeli government reacted angrily by scaling down its relations with the 12 countries that voted in favor of the resolution.

While the Palestine Liberation Organization has welcomed the French peace initiative, which was first proposed early last year, Israel has said it would only participate in bilateral talks with the Palestinian leadership.

Both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both say they are open to the idea of bilateral talks but continue to blame each other for the lack of progress in the moribund peace process.

Leading a French delegation to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) on Wednesday, French Senate President Gerard Larcher declared: "The purpose of the Paris conference is to help. There must be dialogue between the sides; the region is in real chaos."

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, for his part, told delegation members that France's support for the Security Council resolution had been met with "disappointment and anger" in Israel.

2017.01.05 / 18:14
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