Netanyahu and Hollande.
(photo credit: Courtesy Government Press Office)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he would be happy to meet
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud in Paris to re-kindle the long frozen
He spoke about the possibility of peace talks in Paris in
response to questions by reporters during a joint press conference in that city
with French President Francois Hollande.
The French leader called on both
Israelis and Palestinian to rekindle the talks, which have been largely dormant
for the last four years.
“I am willing to go to negotiations right away
without any preconditions,” Netanyahu said.
“If you want to test that,
then President Hollande can invite President Abbas to the Élysée, and I’m here,
I’m ready. It will take him a day to get here. We can start. From my point of
view it’s immediate, and without preconditions,” Netanyahu said.
seemed please by his words.
“That is a wonderful proposal,” Hollande
“I have meet Abbas twice since my election and I hope the
third meeting will be held with Prime Minister Netanyahu if he [Abbas] agrees,”
“But the idea is not to lay down basic principles, but to
enter into negotiations,” said Hollande.
He added that he hoped both men
would come to the table without pre-conditions.
“Abbas says he has no
pre-conditions. The Israeli prime minister has no pre-conditions,” said
Hollande. “Lets negotiate,” he added.
Netanyahu responded, “President
Hollande is free to make a phone call.”
Holland said that he believed a
two state solution was best achieved through negotiations.
against unilateral measures such as the Palestinian bid for non-member state
status at the United Nations, a move that would grant them de-facto recognition
“It is tempting for the Palestinian Authority to seek from
the General Assembly what it can not achieve from negotiations with Israel,”
His words sounded different from that of his predecessor
Nicolas Sarkozy, under whose leadership France supported the Palestinian bid
last fall to become a member state of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization.
An Israeli official said he believed that if
the vote were taken again this fall, France’s position would be
The Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel until
It stops building in West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods of east
Netanyahu has refused to heed that request, and has insisted
that talks should move forward without preconditions.
“I was ready from
the day I was elected Prime Minister. This was my policy, this will remain our
policy,” he said.
The distance between Ramallah and Jerusalem is all of
seven minutes. It takes longer to cross a few blocks in Paris. It’s very close.
There’s no reason why we shouldn’t sit down together,” Netanyahu
“We understand that there will be important steps that Israel will
take, there will be important steps that the Palestinian Authority will have to
take. The only way we can complete a negotiation is if we begin them,” Netanyahu
Hollande’s words in support of a negotiated settlements, was part
of a two-day visit that began on positive and friendly note, which strengthen
the relationship between them.
Although there were some notes of discord,
France does not support a military strike against Iran and it believes that
Israel must stop settlement building.
But the two leaders also found
common agreement on the need to stiffen Iranian sanctions and to combat
A senior official said that Hollande was a true friend of