TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced the Paris peace summit as “pointless” and the “final palpitations” of yesterday’s world.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said the conference was “coordinated between the French and the Palestinians with the goal of trying to impose conditions on Israel that are not compatible with Israel’s national interests.”
“It also distances peace as it hardens Palestinians conditions and keeps them away from direct negotiations without preconditions. I have to say that this conference is among the last remnants of the world of yesterday. Tomorrow will look different, and tomorrow is very close,” he added.
Foreign ministers from around 70 nations, including Secretary of State John Kerry, attended the confab, whose stated aim was to urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to recommit to the so-called two-state solution. Representatives from the United Nations, European Union, Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation were also in attendance.
However, neither Israel nor the Palestinians had any representation at the conference.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault blasted President-elect Donald Trump for his pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling it a “provocation” that would result in “serious consequences.”
French President Francois Hollande said in his address at the conference that settlements and terrorism threaten the two-state solution. He asked how the Middle East could ever hope for an era of stability when one of its oldest conflicts remains unresolved.
Hollande rejected Netanyahu’s claim that the goal of the conference was to impose parameters for a peace deal, saying France “doesn’t want to impose any solutions on the parties, as some argued to dismiss our effort. That can only come after direct negotiations.”
“We want to give guarantees and assurances,” he added. “This initiative should help, not complicate; unite, not divide.”