Barak to Juppe: Israel cannot negotiate with Hamas

Defense minister and French foreign minister discuss France initiative for peace conference; Livni thanks Juppe for "fresh ideas."

June 3, 2011 13:42
2 minute read.
Ehud Barak meets French foreign minister Juppe

Barak and Juppe_311. (photo credit: Inbal Greener / Defense Ministry)


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Defense Minister Ehud Barak met on Friday with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe to discuss a French initiative involving a peace conference in Paris next month. The conference would be scheduled to precede September's contentious Palestinian state bid at the UN

During their meeting at Barak's office in Tel Aviv, the defense minister reiterated to Juppe that Israel would be unable to negotiate with Hamas since the group does not either recognize Israel nor denounce terrorist attacks against its civilians.

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Juppe's recent visit has centered around talks with both Palestinian and Israeli leaders to help find a way out of the current deadlock in negotiations.

Earlier Friday, Juppe was met warmly by Knesset Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima), who said Israel should work with France as an "international friend" working towards peace.

Livni said it is a "clear and urgent Israeli interest," and that she was "gladdened to hear fresh ideas from [Israel's] friends in France."

The opposition leader said that there is "no status quo in the Middle East," echoing Juppes own comments when he met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah Thursday.
She said Israel "cannot stand idly by."

“The status quo here in the Middle East between Israel and Palestinians is no longer tolerable,” Juppé told reporters after his talks with Fayyad.

“We are convinced that if nothing happens here between now and September, the situation will be very difficult for everyone at the time of the United Nations General Assembly,” he said in reference to Palestinian plans to take the issue of statehood recognition to the world body in September.

Juppé said he hoped talks could be resumed in Paris before the end of July, using a formula presented by US President Barack Obama that would see negotiations focus first on borders and security, using the 1967 lines – with mutually agreed land swaps – as the baseline.

Netanyahu, during his trip last week to Washington, categorically rejected using the 1967 lines as the baseline for negotiations, saying these lines were indefensible.

Despite these objections, Juppé said he thought “there are reasons to believe that we can make progress and trigger a dialogue,” adding that a decision on this would be needed in the coming days.

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