Netanyahu: Peace conference in Paris is "futile"


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called a conference taking part in Paris a “futile” attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The peace conference, which is being attended by 70 countries, is expected to discuss how to maintain support for a two state solution and bring both sides to the negotiating table.
Speaking to ministers at his cabinet meeting on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu said: "The conference convening today in Paris is a futile conference
“It was coordinated between the French and the Palestinians with the aim of imposing upon Israel conditions that are incompatible with our national needs."
Mr Netanyahu's government has long objected to the conference, arguing direct talks with the Palestinians are the only way to end the conflict.
Neither Mr Netanyahu, nor Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will attend the conference.
However Mr Abbas is expected to meet French President Francois Hollande to be briefed on the talks, according to French officials.
At the opening of the Palestinian embassy in the Vatican on Saturday, Mr Abbas welcomed the conference.
He said: "We praise the role of President Hollande and the French government in organising this international conference, and we call upon the participants to take concrete measures in order to implement international law and UN resolutions."
The American Jewish Congress said it supported the decision taken by Mr Netanyahu not to attend the summit.
In statement it said: “The way the outgoing Obama administration has acted in its final weeks in office, allowing the adoption of the anti-Israel resolution by the Security Council on December 23rd, 2016, has given the impression that this summit and subsequent Security Council meeting will be biased against Israel.
“The countries attending the Paris summit should be aware that singling out America's ally Israel five days before the ‪January 20th inauguration, will be viewed as a complete lack of respect for American convention and the newly elected Trump Administration.
“The participants should also recognise that any attempt to put together a second anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution will make it harder to achieve lasting peace and send a negative message to the incoming Administration whose publicly stated views are in opposition to the anti-Israel resolution.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault opened the assembly of foreign ministers.
He said: "We are here to reiterate strongly that the two-state solution is the only one possible.”
Mr Ayrault told delegates at the conference, "there is no time to lose" over a peaceful outcome.
He said: "It is not the time to stop, the emergency remains."
"The parties remain very distanced in a relationship of defiance, which is particularly dangerous, and no one is immune to a new explosion of violence."

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