Netanyahu rejects invitation to meet Abbas, Hollande in Paris

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly rejected an invitation to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud in Paris.

Haaretz reported Wednesday that Netanyahu rejected the invitation from French President Francois Hollande due to the Israeli government’s objection to France’s initiative to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hollande reportedly plans to hold a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris on Dec. 21 as part of the peace initiative. A similar meeting was held in Paris in June. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives were invited.

That meeting ended with a final statement calling on the Palestinians and Israelis to demonstrate “a genuine commitment to the two-state solution in order to rebuild trust.” It also proposed an international conference to further talks by the end of the year.

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Israel has dismissed the summit as doomed because it does not involve direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

The December summit, which reportedly could be delayed to Dec. 22 or Dec. 23, could include the foreign ministers of up to 50 countries, according to French news reports.

“We’re ready to meet with Abbas, without preconditions and not as part of the French peace initiative. If the French were interested in hosting, why didn’t they invite us a day before the foreign ministers’ meeting or a month after the summit,” an unnamed senior official in Jerusalem told Haaretz.

Hollande announced earlier this month that he will not run for reelection in France’s 2017 elections.