France's President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump react as they hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 24, 2018.
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
France denied Israeli media reports that it warned the US it would promote its own peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if US President Donald Trump fails to publish his plan soon. French allegedly pressured Trump to release his plan within a number of weeks after the American midterm elections on November 6.
News of the French ultimatum was published on both Channels 10 and 2. It was based on closed door testimony by Foreign Ministry Political Director Alon Ushpiz to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
In its report, Channel 10 said it had spoken with two Knesset members and Chanel 2 said it had quizzed four Knesset members about the story before publishing it. Their reports were fairly identical in regard to the issue of the peace plan.
Former French president Francois Hollande had published a peace initiative and held an international gathering on the subject during the last days of the Obama administration.
French President Emmanuel Macron has not continued to promote the plan, since immediately upon taking office Trump declared that he planned to pursue a resolution to the conflict. The French plan called for a two-state solution to the conflict, at the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
The French report expects Trump will publish the plan after the midterm elections.
Ushpiz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he did not have details regarding the plan.
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A spokesman for the French Embassy in Tel Aviv said, “the embassy does not know what the reporter is talking about.
French President Macron and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu have a relationship of trust and they speak openly about every topic.”
According to Channel 2, Ushpiz reported that Israel estimates one-third of the congressional seats will change in the midterms and that it is unclear if all would support Israel. He expects Democratic influence will increase as a result, and that this could have an impact on US policy with regard to Israel.
Ushpiz said that Israeli public relations has had no impact on the diplomats who have been inside the Gaza Strip and have witnessed the humanitarian situation there. He added that Israel is losing support among American Jews and suggested that members of the Knesset arrange to speak with US Jewish communities during their trips to the US.
With respect to Jordan’s decision to not continue leasing to Israel the property of Naharayim
and Tzofar, Ushpiz said there was little Israel could do to pressure the monarchy to extend the lease.
The Foreign Ministry said, “the quotes are inaccurate.” It added that it “would not elaborate given the secrecy of the meeting.”
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