Israeli officials called on France Sunday to change its approach to dealing with the Palestinian peace process after Paris threatened to recognize the state officially if fresh talks scheduled in the next few weeks fail. France made the proposal to hold new talks Friday, citing frustration no progress had been made since the collapse of U.S.-led negotiations in 2014. But the caveat to that proposal, which was announced by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, will point the finger of blame directly at Israel should they collapse again.
In response, Israeli officials said the French ultimatum would fail to encourage Palestinian negotiators to make reasonable proposals, and the talks were designed solely to give Paris justification for recognizing a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu rejects French ultimatum on Palestinian statehood https://t.co/DWIzp1oZkr
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) January 31, 2016
"The French know their initiative is hopeless, but they're doing anything to leave their marks and show they're a relevant player in the international arena," an Israeli source told Ynetnews Sunday.
The fear in Israel is France’s recognition could encourage other European countries to follow suit. Sweden recognized the state in October 2014, calling it “an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.”
The French claimed the idea for an international conference attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was the Palestinian leader's idea. He said Saturday that the “status quo cannot continue.”
Netanyahu said Israel would enter the talks in good faith.
"I assess that there will be a sobering up regarding this matter," Netanyahu added. "In any event, we will make effort so that there is a sobering up here, and our position is very clear: We are prepared to enter direct negotiation without preconditions and without dictated terms."