Macron says he won’t recognize Palestine in response to Trump’s Jerusalem move
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Macron says he won’t recognize Palestine in response to Trump’s Jerusalem move

Ahead of meeting with Netanyahu, president reaffirms France’s position of Jerusalem as capital of ‘both sides’ in final deal

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24, 2018. (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24, 2018. (GPO)

DAVOS, Switzerland — French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that he would not recognize Palestine as an independent state as a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I will not take any decision in reaction to any decision,” Macron told reporters in response to a Times of Israel question on the potential recognition of a Palestinian state.

The comments came during a photo op with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ahead of their closed-door meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting lasted nearly an hour.

Several European nations, including Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Slovenia, are reportedly mulling recognizing an independent Palestine in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem. The Slovenian foreign minister has already confirmed his country’s intention.

Macron began his statement by saying bluntly, “What we have to do is we have to work fairly on a peace process in the short run.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (GPO)

Macron said he wanted to “accompany and facilitate” the two sides in a peace process, but added that France’s positions on the end result of such talks had not changed.

“Our philosophy is very clear from the very beginning, with recognition of two states. Jerusalem will be the capital of two sides and common frontiers recognized according to international rule,” he said in English.

Macron went on to emphasize again that a decision to recognize an independent Palestine will not be a reaction “following some other decision,” apparently referring to Trump’s December 6 proclamation.

The French president then touted his relationship with Netanyahu, saying he saw as crucial Paris’s ability to be a “partner for the security of Israel and also to be a strategic partner for the whole region with you,” he said, looking at Netanyahu.

The prime minister responded that “this is definitely true,” adding that Israel’s partnership with France “is also important for the security of Europe.”

Just last week, Channel 10 reported that Macron dispatched his foreign policy adviser to a secret visit in Ramallah, where the latter implored Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbass not to rule out a peace plan being prepared by the Trump administration.

“Don’t reject Trump’s peace plan off the bat,” Channel 10 quoted Lechevallier as telling Palestinian officials. “Give it a chance.”

Abbas met with Macron last month in Paris, where he rejected any role in a US peace process.

During talks last month, Netanyahu reportedly told the French president that he would be prepared to make “compromises and concessions” to the Palestinians, within the framework of Trump’s plan.

The separate Channel 10 report, which quoted unnamed senior European diplomats familiar with the content of the two men’s discussions, was denied by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The TV channel said Macron’s efforts to reassure Abbas have been coordinated with Trump, and the two leaders speaking by phone multiple times in recent weeks.

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