Jpost – Arab-Israeli Conflict
By JPOST.COM STAFF \12/07/2016
French President Francois Hollande has reportedly proposed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Paris on the backdrop of a peace summit before the end of the year.
According to French media reports Wednesday, Hollande extended the invitation to the two leaders to coincide with a French-led international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is expected to take place in Paris in late December.
With the invitation, Hollande was reportedly seeking to bring Netanyahu and Abbas together to discuss the results of the French-led initiative and to promote a relaunching of direct negotiations between the two sides.
PLO executive committee member Ahmad Majdalani confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Abbas has accepted Hollande’s proposal to meet with him and Netanyahu in Paris on December 22. He added that Netanyahu has not yet agreed.
France’s Le Figaro newspaper also reported that Paris’s embassy in Tel Aviv had made contact with both sides.
As of Wednesday morning, the Prime Minister’s Office had not responded to request for comment on the matter.
Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians were invited to take part in the Paris meeting of ministers from more than 20 countries. However, the two side were expected to be invited to a second stage of the initiative involving a larger conference in the coming fall.
The Palestinians have welcomed the initiative, while Israel has opposed it, fearing it will give the Palestinians an excuse to avoid direct talks.
Netanyahu has said the Palestinians do not need a conference in Paris to open a dialogue between Ramallah and Jerusalem, given that the two cities are located right next to each other.