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Middle East

Israel rejects 'international dictates' ahead of French Foreign Minister visit

media Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, March 2, 2015. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected "international dictates" ahead of a visit by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. But Fabius says that he is not willing to give up on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

With talks between Israel and the Palestinians having stalled for more than a year ago,  Fabius was to hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Sunday in a push to revive talks.

France has previously argued in favour of a UN resolution that would guide negotiations leading to an independent Palestinian state and which could include a timeframe for talks.

But Netanyahu lashed out at international diplomatic efforts to impose proposals. 

He said at the weekly cabinet meeting, in comments quoted by his office, "in the international proposals that have been suggested to us -- which they are actually trying to force upon us -- there is no real reference to Israel's security needs or our other national interests.

During a visit to Cairo on Saturday, Fabius, urged the resumption of Middle East peace talks. He also warned that continued Israeli settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state would damage chances of a final deal.

A major US push for a final deal between Israel and Palestine ended in failure in April 2014.

Israel blamed the Palestinians' refusal of a US framework document outlining the way forward.

But the Palestinians point to Israel's settlement building and the government's refusal to release veteran prisoners.

The United States has consistently defended Israel before the UN Security Council and any French resolution must be accepted by Washington to avoid a veto.

President Barack Obama's administration has however recently signalled that it could be swayed given Netanyahu's recent rejection of the establishment of a Palestinian state while campaigning for the March 17 general election. He later backtracked on the comments.

 

 
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