TEL AVIV – Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as per President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise is a “provocation” that would result in “serious consequences,” France warned at Sunday’s peace summit in Paris.
Foreign ministers from around 70 nations gathered in Paris Sunday in an attempt 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 Trump over his pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Of course (it’s a provocation). I think he would not be able to do it,” Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television at the conference. “It would have extremely serious consequences and it’s not the first time that it’s on the agenda of a U.S. president, but none have let themselves make that decision.”
“One cannot have such a clear-cut, unilateral position. You have to create the conditions for peace,” he added.
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the conference as “pointless” and the “final palpitations” of yesterday’s world.
The summit, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, 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 yore. Tomorrow will look different, and tomorrow is very close,” he added.
Ayrault argued that France has no “intention other than promoting peace” and added that “there is no time to waste.”
“The two-state solution, under such threat today, and the necessity of preserving it, were forcefully reaffirmed by resolution 2334,” he said, referring to the recently approved UN Security Council resolution that attacks Israeli settlement building as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
Ayrault opened the conference by outlining its aim to reinstate the two-state solution as “the only possibility — the only — that would allow us to respond to the legitimate aspirations” of Israel and the Palestinians.
“Both parties are very far apart and their relationship is one of distrust — a particularly dangerous situation,” Ayrault added. “Our collective responsibility is to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. We know it is difficult, but is there an alternative? No, there isn’t.”
In a recent interview with CBS News, Secretary of State John Kerry said that an embassy move would cause “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Trump against the move, saying it was “aggressive.”
His close aide, the Palestinian Authority’s supreme Sharia judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash, said that an embassy move would be tantamount to a “declaration of war.”