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Meeting Palestinian leader Abbas, France’s Macron calls for renewed peace talks

French president stresses need for dialogue with Israel, saying there is no option other than negotiations, warns that violence could break out at any time

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrive for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 20, 2022. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP )
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrive for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 20, 2022. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP )

French President Emmanuel Macron called for a return to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a press conference alongside visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.

The French president stressed the need for the “renewal of direct political dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Speaking at the Elysee Palace in Paris, he warned that violence could break out at any time and that negotiations may be a “difficult path, but we have no other alternative.”

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have not been held since 2014.

In his own remarks, Abbas denounced Israeli activity and the killing earlier this year of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh “in cold blood without reason.”

“Who killed her? We want them to find out who did it,” he said.

He also repeated comments similar to those he made alongside US President Joe Biden in Bethlehem last week, urging a restart of talks based on a two-state solution.

The Biden administration has come under fire from Abu Akleh’s family and pro-Palestinian activists for announcing earlier this month that the prominent Al Jazeera reporter was not intentionally killed by Israel, even though it said an IDF soldier was likely responsible for shooting her. The US State Department said the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, and that the PA handed over for examination, was too damaged to make a more conclusive determination.

Abu Akleh was fatally shot amid clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen as she was covering an Israeli arrest operation in Jenin.

The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of deliberately killing Abu Akleh. Israel has rejected this as a blatant lie, and says it is still investigating her death.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement last Thursday that Abbas will discuss with Macron “putting pressure on Israel to provide the appropriate atmosphere for holding the Palestinian elections, specifically in the city of Jerusalem.”

Palestinian elections scheduled for last year were canceled, with Abbas citing Israel’s refusal to allow them to take place in East Jerusalem which Israel sees as part of its unified capital and that the Palestinians want as the capital of a future state. It is believed he was also fearful of gains by rivals in the Hamas terror group.

Macron met with Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Paris two weeks ago in Lapid’s first overseas trip in office, and made similar comments then, stating that there “is no alternative to a resumption of political dialogue.”

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