The French are reportedly backing down from plans to force Israel into making concessions to the Palestinians which would endanger its security.
The foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Riyad al-Maliki, said that France was backtracking from plans to advance a draft resolution on renewing Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts to the UN Security Council (UNSC).
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency quotes al-Maliki as saying on Tuesday that France was retreating from the diplomatic move following pressure from Israel and the United States.
“I can say that the idea of the French draft resolution in the Security Council is not a main topic for decision makers in France anymore,” he told Palestinian state radio Voice of Palestine after meeting with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, in Cairo.
Al-Maliki said that to avoid “embarrassment,” France had suggested forming a negotiations “support committee” as an alternative, although al-Maliki said that the role such a committee would play was not clear.
A “support committee” would be active only if talks begin, adding that it would be composed of the major member states in the UN Security Council, in addition to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, he explained.
Al-Maliki added that he would speak with New Zealand’s foreign minister to check whether his country, which is currently chairing the UN Security Council, would be taking any steps related to peace talks.
New Zealand said last month that it was hoping to revive talks during its month-long presidency of the Security Council.
According to Ha’aretz, senior PA officials in Ramallah told the newspaper that Al-Maliki’s comments were not entirely accurate and, rather, based on his own analysis of the situation.
Fabius was recently in the region to promote the French peace initiative to bring the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process to a resolution within the next 18 months, after which the French are threatening to unilaterally recognize the “State of Palestine” through a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution.
Israel has repeatedly rejected external and international pressure to force an agreement that runs counter to its interests, and Jerusalem is wary of the French plans.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking during a joint press conference with Fabius in June, stressed that peace can be achieved only through direct negotiations between the parties and without preconditions. “It will not come from UN resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside,” he said. “President Abbas believes he can avoid such direct negotiations. He wants to avoid the give and take of negotiations. And why does he go that route? Because even though the Palestinians ran away from the negotiations again and again and again, it is Israel that is being blamed.”
By: United with Israel Staff
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