Netanyahu Slams French Ultimatum on Palestinian Statehood

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused France of discouraging the Palestinians from compromising for peace, after its foreign minister said his country would recognize a state of Palestine if his proposed peace initiative fails.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s comments, reported by Agence France-Presse on Friday, gives the Palestinians an excuse to dig in to their demands, Netanyahu said.

“This consists of an incentive to the Palestinians to not compromise with us,” Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday, according to an e-mailed statement. “The essence of negotiations is the need to compromise, and this French initiative, as reported, gives the Palestinians a reason right off the bat not to do so.”

Fabius wants to convene an international peace conference in an effort to revive talks that broke down in 2014 amid mutual recriminations, according to Agence France Presse. Since then, the Palestinians have pursued initiatives to gain international recognition for an independent state while seeking to isolate Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said international pressure is instrumental in reviving talks.

“We welcome the French initiative,” Abbas said on Saturday from a conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “The status quo can’t continue in this way.”

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