Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely attacked France’s proposed UN peace initiative as “counterproductive” in an interview with a French newspaper, saying it “deludes” the Palestinians into believing they can achieve statehood without making concessions.
Hotovely’s comments, published Friday, came ahead of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s arrival in the region on Sunday in order to push Paris’s draft UN resolution to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The resolution sets an 18-month timetable for a final status agreement, threatening French recognition of a Palestinian state should negotiations fail.
In the interview with French daily Le Figaro, Hotovely warned the French peace initiative “will not improve the situation” and will likely “aggravate the situation on the ground.”
“The French initiative is counterproductive because it deludes the Palestinians into thinking they will get something from the international community without having to make concessions,” Hotovely said.
“It’s clear to the Israeli public – left and right – that direct negotiations between the two sides is the only way to solve the problem,” Hotovely said. “We see that Palestinian leaders, with the encouragement of certain countries, have tried for several years to internationalize the conflict through a very dangerous process, not just for Israel but for them.”
Hotovely is openly opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, and was recently quoted as saying it was nowhere in sight and that the problem lies with the Palestinians for rebuffing Israeli offers.
Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not accept “foreign diktats” and be forced into an agreement with the Palestinians that ignored the Jewish state’s security interests.
Palestinian officials and French diplomats have said the proposal would call for basing the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state on the lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six Day War. It also would set a two-year deadline for an agreement. Israel rejects a return to its pre-1967 lines, saying they are indefensible. It also opposes imposed deadlines.
The French initiative comes after two decades of talks of US-brokered having failed to produce a two-state solution. The most recent peace push, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry, fell short in April 2014 after nine months of tense negotiations, and the gaps between Israeli and Palestinian positions remain vast.
AP contributed to this report.