French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is wary of French plans to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council setting out the parameters for a two-state solution and a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal, government officials made clear Tuesday as Paris announced that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will come to the region over the weekend.
Fabius, a major proponent of the idea, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, following visits to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
One government official said it was unclear whether he will be bringing a draft of the proposed UN Security Council resolution with him.
Netanyahu, in a speech at the Herzliya Conference last week, made his opposition to any such moves clear, even though he did not mention France by name.
“There are those who attempt to impose terms on Israel in the Security Council because there are no talks, and some of them pretend that the dangers we face are not real dangers at all,” he said. “I think what that does is drive peace away.”
Netanyahu said that efforts to impose peace from the outside will not work for two reasons: Israel will “resist it,” and the “Palestinians will not come to the table” since they know they will get better “starting terms” from a UN resolution than anything they could get from any Israeli government.
In that case, he said, “why should they come to negotiate?” Government officials said that that while Israel has not seen a draft of the proposal, there is concern in Jerusalem about different ideas being discussed and that “this could go in a negative direction.”
One of Israel's concern is that the US might not veto the proposal, which the French are expected to submit before September's UN General Assembly meeting. US President Barack Obama has pointedly refused to commit himself to vetoing any such resolution. In addition to discussing the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu will also discuss the Iranian issue with Fabius. France’s position on this matter is the closest to Israel of any of the other P5+1 countries negotiating with Iran: the US, China, Russia, Germany and Britain.
France's position, one government official said, “is appreciated” in Israel.
Meanwhile, both Israel and the US denied reports Tuesday that Netanyahu would fly to Washington in mid July for a meeting with Obama.
“We have not received any invitation, or been told that one is coming,” an official in the Prime Minister's Office said. In addition, a US official said that ”no invitation has been extended, though absolutely we expect that there will be occasion for them to meet in Washington at some point going forward.”
The two last met on October 1 in the White House. Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu when the premier went to address Congress in March, saying it was too close to the Israeli elections later that month. Netanyahu is expected to travel to New York in September for the UN General Assembly meeting, and if a meeting with Obama does not materialize over the summer, it is likely that they would meet during that trip.
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