On Friday, France announced that it will organize an international peace conference to bring together Israel, the Palestinians, the U.S., EU and Arab states.
France didn’t stop there — they have also issued an ultimatum to Israel.
France declares that it will take the initiative and “recognize a Palestinian state” if their peace conference fails to break the deadlock between warring Israelis and Palestinians.
This is a strong statement indeed, and comes after the ISIS terror attacks in Paris shook Europe late last year.
“French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday that if the new plan did not succeed, France would have no choice but to recognize the Palestinian state.”
Perhaps the French have bought into the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the epicenter of regional tensions and must be quelled. A real resentment over France having to “pay” with the blood of Parisians for tensions that were exacerbated by Israel may be behind officials’ decision to issue the strong ultimatum.
Some experts seemed to think that France could even invite representatives from terror group Isis to attend, according to Ynet.
“A diplomatic official wondered on Saturday night whether France was also planning on ‘calling for an international conference with ISIS, which commits terror attacks in Paris.'”
France’s move has been characterized as “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,” according to DNAIndia.
Netanyahu has strongly criticized the move, and especially France’s decision to issue the ultimatum publicly. By doing so, France has provided “an incentive to the Palestinians to come along and not compromise,” because they know how desperate Westerners are to secure peace, according to DNAIndia.
Netanyahu went so far as to call France’s action a “threat” against Israel.
France has signed it’s own death warrant by accepting so many Islamists. Now it wants Israel to join them in death https://t.co/pld5eKVpl6— Cathy Alterman (@CuriousLemming) January 30, 2016
Opposition leaders blame French ultimatum on government failings: Livni says only Israeli initiative will reli... https://t.co/OWp8l6NMNT— Middle East News (@MidEastNews) January 30, 2016
Netanyahu was confident that the French would “sober up,” and withdraw what he sees as an unreasonable precondition. The Israeli leader said that he would be happy to enter talks as long as preconditions and terms were removed.
“I assess that there will be a sobering up regarding this matter, 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.”
French officials said Paris had a responsibility to act. Officials declared that there must be an end to ongoing Israeli settlement activity and bemoaned the prospect of a continued diplomatic stalemate.
Since October, Palestinian attacks have killed 26 Israelis and a U.S. citizen. These are thought to have been partly fueled by tensions over the freeze in peace talks, according to The Telegraph.
The Israeli army has reported that on Sunday, a Palestinian gunman wounded three Israelis near the West Bank settlement of Beit El. The Palestinian was then shot dead by soldiers.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the French proposal. Abbas told an African summit in Ethiopia on Friday that “the status quo cannot continue,” according to ABC.
France may have been emboldened to issue the ultimatum when both the United States and the European Union issued unusually stern criticisms of Israel recently.
Last week UN Secretary of State Ban Ki-moon angered the Netanyahu Government when he stated that it was “human nature to react to occupation.”
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]