PM heads to Paris, UK to discuss Palestinian state, Hamas
Netanyahu embarks on trip to sway European countries to say "no" to Palestinian statehood declaration, unity gov't with Hamas.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to London and Paris on Tuesday in an attempt to sway England and France to deny unilateral Palestinian statehood, as well as the PA’s proposed partnership with Hamas.On Wednesday, Netanyahu will meet with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, in their first face-to-face meeting since Cameron took office in May of last year.RELATED:Hamas leader Mashaal in Cairo to sign unity deal'Annexation for declaration' idea advancing in KnessetHamas official doesn't trust UN to grant Palestinian stateThe trip was initially designated solely to thwart a bid by the PA to seek unilateral statehood at the UN. It was scheduled in advance of a trip later this month to the US, in which Netanyahu is expected to deliver a major address on the stalled peace process to special joint session of the US Congress.Since the European trip was planned, however, a number of events have expanded the agenda – including the US troops’ assassination of Osama bin Laden on Monday, and the PA and Hamas unity deal, announced last week.An Israeli official noted that Hamas on Monday had condemned the US for killing Bin Laden. With that statement, the official told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas “has shown its true colors.”“The illusion that Hamas is moderate should be abandoned in the dust heap of history,” the official said.AdvertisementOn Thursday, Netanyahu plans to meet with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.Both with Cameron and with Sarkozy, Netanyahu plans to address a wide range of regional issues including Iran, the democratic upheavals, the peace process and Hamas.Sarkozy met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas last month.After the meeting, its ambassador to the UN, Gérard Araud, told the UN Security Council that “recognition of a Palestinian state is an option that we are currently thinking about, with our European partners.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to meet Abbas on May 5, has, however, spoken out against Palestinian unilateralism.
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