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Israel PM rejects 'dictates' as France's top diplomat visits

June 21, 2015 2:11 P.M. (Updated: June 21, 2015 4:49 P.M.)
Netanyahu shakes hands with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during their meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem on August 25, 2013. (POOL/AFP/Abir Sultan, File)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected "international dictates" ahead of a visit by France's top diplomat, with Paris advocating a UN resolution laying out parameters for peace talks.

"The only way to reach an agreement is through bilateral negotiations, and we will forcibly reject any attempts to force upon us international dictates," Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will hold separate talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders later on Sunday during a tour of the region.

On Saturday, Fabius told reporters in Cairo that he would be urging the resumption of Middle East peace talks but warned that continued Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank is damaging chances of a final deal.

"We need Israel's security to be totally assured, that is essential, but at the same time we need the rights of the Palestinians to be recognized because without justice there can be no peace," Fabius said.

"From this point of view, when settlement building continues, (the prospect of) a two-state solution recedes."

Without mentioning France, Netanyahu said that the proposals put forth on creating a separate, independent Palestinian state had neglected to address vital Israeli security concerns.

"In the international proposals that have been suggested to us -- which they are actually trying to force upon us -- there is no real reference to Israel's security needs or our other national interests," Netanyahu said in comments quoted by his office.

"They are simply trying to push us into indefensible borders while completely ignoring what will happen on the other side of the border."

In March, shortly before the Israeli election, Netanyahu said that he would not allow a Palestinian state if reelected, in comments he has since spoken of in ambiguous terms.

He also vowed he would never allow the Palestinians to establish a capital in occupied East Jerusalem and pledged to build "thousands" of settler homes, which are illegal under international law.

In recent days, Netanyahu has been increasingly defiant against the international community, referring to a UN call on Israel to protect Palestinian children as "a black day for the UN," and comparing the international boycott movement to Nazi Germany.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been comatose since a major US push for a final deal ended in failure in April 2014, after Israel refused to cease settlement building and refused to release veteran Palestinian prisoners.

The relationship between the two sides remains severely strained, prompting the Palestinians to step up efforts on the international stage to seek their promised state.

Such efforts have included a push to open criminal proceedings against Israel before the International Criminal Court.

After Iran talks?

The United States has consistently defended Israel before the UN Security Council and any French resolution must be accepted by Washington to avoid a veto.

President Barack Obama's administration has, however, recently signaled that it could be swayed given Netanyahu's recent comments regarding a Palestinian state.

Obama said in a recent interview with Israeli television that a lack of progress in peace talks would make it "more difficult to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation."

France's diplomatic efforts also come against the backdrop of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, with Israel firmly opposing the deal currently on the table.

Iran and the P5 1 powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- agreed in April on the main outlines of what would be a historic agreement scaling down Tehran's nuclear program.

The world powers and Iran set themselves a deadline of June 30 to finalize what would be a highly complex accord, and negotiators have been meeting regularly in Vienna and elsewhere in recent weeks.

Some have argued that a window of opportunity may arise after the conclusion of the Iran talks for France to submit a resolution at the UN.

They argue that the United States would be unlikely to support moves beforehand that could impact negatively on the nuclear negotiations.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
Comments
Mark of Lewiston / USA
Netanyahu's permanent occupation idea doesn't seem attractive to Palestinians nor his "conflict management" theories. Not reducing violence, either side. Time for Abbas publicly put a plan on the table. Map and everything.
21/06/2015 14:23
@ Mark / USA too
-1- The UN tried to imposed a solution in 1948, but Arabs invaded, and since then No other state conflict has had an outside solution imposed upon the states, as the French hope to do for Israel-Palestine now, and
-2- Israel will reject his map of 1949-1967 Armistice-border lines !!
21/06/2015 15:36
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