France and PA discuss plans to force peace talks

Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders rapidly got on board with French plans to force peace talks on Israel, during a meeting with a Paris envoy on Tuesday.

Pierre Vimont, France's point man on efforts to hold an international peace conference by the summer, held talks Tuesday in Ramallah, Samaria with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA foreign minister Riad al-Malki and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The French initiative was to involve forcing Israel to make concessions or else granting recognition to the state of "Palestine." While the new French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has toned down the ultimatum by saying recognition would not be automatic, Paris continues to anxiously press for new talks.

"The French ideas are timely, the French ideas are realistic and the French ideas are the only thing in town, and those who care about peace between Palestinians and Israelis must fully support the French ideas," Erekat said.

France launched the effort earlier this year to host an international conference to revive peace talks, after the last talks were torpedoed by the PA in April 2014 when it signed a unity deal with Hamas.

Vimont on Monday met Israeli Foreign Ministry director general Dore Gold, a close ally of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Israel wants direct negotiations with the PA, and sought to "understand the initiative's logic" during talks with Vimont.

"The Israeli side emphasized the importance of direct, bilateral negotiations, with no prior conditions between the parties," he said.

The French initiative comes amid a wave of Arab terror since last September which has claimed the lives of 34 victims.

In parallel to the initiative there are reports that US President Barack Obama is looking to reverse longstanding policy and use the UN Security Council to divide Jerusalem and force concessions on Israel.

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/209429

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