The Palestinian Authority on Saturday cautiously welcomed a French proposal to
revive negotiations with Israel, but did not commit to attending a meeting on
the matter in Paris.
PLO Executive Committee Member Saeb Erekat said that
Palestinian agreement to the French initiative was conditioned on Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of the two-state solution on the basis of the
1967 lines, and his agreement to halt settlement activity in the West Bank and
Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Netanyahu has refused to cede to
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has informed French Foreign
Minister Alain Juppé that if Netanyahu officially accepts the principle of the
two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 lines “then we will accept the
[French] proposal,” Erekat said.
While in Israel and the Palestinian
territories, Juppé earlier this week urged both governments to come to Paris to
discuss ideas for a Palestinian state raised last month by US President Barack
Obama – aiming to avert a showdown at the United Nations in September when
Palestinians plan to see unilateral statehood.
The French proposal calls
for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to meet this month, or by early July, to
talk about reviving the peace talks.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy
discussed the matter with Netanyahu last month when the two met in
Juppé also advocated for the Paris meeting when he spoke with
Netanyahu on Thursday.
The Prime Minister’s Office has yet to formally
respond to the proposal. An Israeli government official said that the proposal
for peace talks was under examination with the US.
“We are also
discussing it with the Americans, because obviously America plays a major role
here,” the official said.
Abbas told Reuters, “We said that in principle
that this initiative is acceptable.”
The French plan “talks about
President Obama’s vision ... in which he spoke about a [Palestinian] state with
the 1967 borders with borders with Israel, Egypt and Jordan,” said
Under the plan discussed with Juppé, “neither side would carry out
unilateral actions,” Abbas added.
Hamas criticized Abbas for reportedly
accepting the French proposal as a “mistake.”
Hamas legislator Salah
Bardaweel said that Abbas’s announcement was “hasty and unnecessary at this
stage.” He said that in the wake of the reconciliation agreement between Fatah
and Hamas, Abbas should refrain from making such decisions alone.
a Friday meeting with Juppé, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that
Israelwould not hold peace talks with Hamas, until the organization
and renounces terror.
Earlier Friday, Opposition leader Tzipi Livni
(Kadima) told Juppe that Israel should work with France as an “international
friend” that is pursuing peace.
Livni said it is a “clear and urgent
Israeli interest,” and that she was “glad to hear fresh ideas from [Israel’s]
friends in France.”
Juppe plans to head to Washington this coming week to
discuss France’s plan with the US administration.
Reuters and Jerusalem
Post staff contributed to this report.