Israel to consider invitation for talks with Palestinians

Israel to consider France's call to join peace talks with Palestinians for two-state solution to end conflict

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits next to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, left, at the White House in September, 2010

Israel on Saturday said it would consider France's invitation to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict​ but said France made a mistake by saying it would recognise the Palestinian state if talks failed, an Israeli government official said.

"If and when we get an invitation to a conference, we will examine it and respond to it," the official, who declined to be named, said in a statement.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday that France is looking to revive plans for an international conference to "bring about the two-state solution" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"In the coming weeks, France will take... steps in order to organise an international conference gathering each of the parties' principle partners -- principally Americans, Europeans and Arabs -- in order to preserve and to bring about the two-state solution," he said in remarks to diplomats.

Fabius told foreign diplomats on Friday that if the conference he proposes fails, France would recognise the Palestinian state.

The Israeli official dismissed the idea, saying, "Why would the Palestinians budge on even a comma in a conference if they already know that, without making progress, they will get what they want?"

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking to African leaders at a summit in Ethiopia, urged them to back France's conference plan.

But two Israeli cabinet ministers, both allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel should boycott such a meeting.

"Unequivocally, Israel will not attend a conference under threat," Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz told Channel 2 television, echoing a comment by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz to Channel 1.

In recent months, protests against the ongoing Israeli occupation have increased in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 1, while over 20 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same period.

TRTWorld and agencies