Israeli PM rejects French ultimatum on Palestinian statehood


netanyahu in hot waterIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for a more “sober” approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in dismissing a French peace initiative as only encouraging Palestinians to shun compromise.

The proposal on Friday by French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius for an international peace conference was the latest sign of Western frustration over the absence of movement toward a two-state solution since the collapse of U.S.-brokered negotiations in 2014.

Fabius said that if the French plan did not break the deadlock, Paris would recognize a Palestinian state.

Such a step would raise concern in Israel that other European countries, also long opposed to its settlement-building in occupied territory, would follow suit.

In public remarks to his cabinet, Netanyahu did not explicitly reject the notion of an international conference – an aide said Israel would examine such a request once it was received – but he made clear that reported details of the plan made it a non-starter.

Netanyahu said a “threat” to recognize a Palestinian state if France’s peace efforts did not succeed constituted “an incentive to the Palestinians to come along and not compromise”.

“I assess that there will be a sobering up regarding this matter,” Netanyahu added. “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.”

On Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the French proposal, telling an African summit in Ethiopia that “the status quo cannot continue”.

But Washington responded with caution to the French move, saying it continued to prefer that Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement on final-status issues through direct talks.

While aware the initiative may struggle to get off the ground, French officials said Paris had a responsibility to act now in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement activity and the prospect of continued diplomatic inaction as the United States focuses on a presidential election in November.

And, the officials said, Netanyahu had gone a step too far in accusing U.N. Secretary of State Ban Ki-moon of giving a “tailwind to terrorism” by laying some of the blame for four months of stabbings and car rammings by Palestinians at Israel’s door. Ban angered Israel by saying last week that it is “human nature to react to occupation”.

israeli_settlements  in the West BankThe United States, European Union – Israel’s closest allies – have also issued unusually stern criticism of Israel in recent weeks, reflecting their own frustration with the policies of Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

The criticism, particularly about the settlements, where some 550,000 Jews live in around 250 communities scattered across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, has raised Palestinian hopes that world powers might finally be minded to support a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s policy outright.


Since October, Palestinian attacks, partly fueled by tensions over the freeze in peace talks, have killed 26 Israelis and a U.S. citizen.

In the latest incident, on Sunday, a Palestinian gunman wounded three Israelis near the West Bank settlement of Beit El and was then shot dead by soldiers, the Israeli army said. Palestinian officials said he worked as a bodyguard for a Palestinian prosecutor in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Over the past four months, Israeli forces have killed at least 152 Palestinians, 98 of them assailants according to authorities. Most the others have died in violent protests.

“I don’t see anything that warrants living as long as the occupation smothers us and kills our brothers and sisters … You were first and I am following you,” the Beit El assailant, Amjad Abu Omar, wrote on Facebook.

Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, parts of which have been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war. Palestine has non-member observer status at the United Nations and its flag flies with those of member states at UN headquarters in New York.

Sweden became the first EU member nation to recognize the Palestinian state in 2014. A total of 136 U.N.-member countries, mostly in Africa, Latin America and Asia, now do so.





9 responses to “Israeli PM rejects French ultimatum on Palestinian statehood”

  1. I’m sure the Resistance(tm) will have some imaginative response to that one. Like blocking the Lebanese presidential election for another twenty years.

    1. man-o-war Avatar

      What in the hell are you babbling about now? How does this have anything to do with the “resistance” or the Lebanese presidential elections? I think you’re commenting on the wrong article.

      “Like blocking the Lebanese presidential election for another twenty years.”, So they’ve been blocking presidential elections for the past twenty years?

      1. As you seem blissfully unaware of the concept of sarcasm, here’s an explanation just for you: the “Resistance” has developed a unique way of dealing with various Israeli iniquities over the years – that is, by wrecking Lebanon. I simply expressed my belief that they will not disappoint this time as well.

        Granted, I should have written “twenty more years”. Clearer now?

        1. man-o-war Avatar

          You linked two things that aren’t related, Palestinian peace talks and the Lebanese presidential elections. I don’t really understand the link, but you may have some inside knowledge that the public isn’t privy to.

          I got that it was sarcasm, it just missed the mark big time.

          “twenty more years” is much clearer and it means you’re no longer lying in your comment. Now “twenty more years” just represents your hope and wish for Lebanon.

          1. The (sarcastic) comment was about the “Resistance” and its obssession with “Palestine”, i.e. Israeli iniquities. It also specifically mentioned its preferred tactic for furthering the Palestinian Cause(tm) – wrecking up Lebanon. Capisce?
            ‘”twenty more years” is much clearer and it means you’re no longer lying in your comment. ‘

            I wonder if you have the general idea of the difference between “lying” and “being (linguistically) imprecise”. I would be tempted to think that you didn’t. But then you claim, in the next sentence, that “‘twenty more years’ just represents your hope and wish for Lebanon”, which veers dangerously close to YOU lying, i.e. making things up. So maybe you do know the difference 🙂

          2. man-o-war Avatar

            The Palestinian negotiations and the “resistance” are not linked in this article. You just really want them to be linked, thats fine. Have at it. Sarcastic or not, it’s out of place on this article, but whatever.

            “Linguistically imprecise”, interesting! Is that what we’re call misinformation these days? It might have been as you say “linguistically imprecise”, but you know people do that all the time to distort reality and sway peoples opinions.

            Well when your assumption is the “resistance” is going to block the presidential election for another “twenty years” then one can only assume that you are hoping for that or you’re just a really pessimistic person. I just chose to believe the former.

            If the “resistance” isn’t dismantled you would love to see the country fail, correct?

          3. You’ll have to excuse me, man, but I didnt bother with what’s above your last question. Too tedious, and too linguistically imprecise. As to the question itself, I’ll be blunt: if for you the “Resistance” and the country called Lebanon are one, then the answer is yes. Thankfully and not-so-surprisingly, however, quite a few Lebanese seem to have a problem with this kind of self-identification.

  2. man-o-war Avatar

    “We are prepared to enter direct negotiation without preconditions and without dictated terms.”, except Palestinians have to give up on the dream of “right of return”, have to except Israel as the JEWISH state and that Jerusalem is it’s eternal capital, and only some of the West Bank settlements will be dismantled, and some will remain in exchange for crappy land, and you’re not allowed to have a military, and you’re not allowed to have control of your airspace. Other than that “we are prepared to enter direct negotiations without preconditions and without dictated terms”

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Sounds like Nastyrallah …. hehehe

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