Netanyahu to Macron: Not Hopeful on Trump Peace Push

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with French President Emmanuel Macron, during Netanyahu visit in Paris, Sunday. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has confided to French President Emmanuel Macron that he does not hold out much hope for the Trump administration’s current peace initiatives, but will cooperate in any case, Haaretz reported citing diplomatic sources.

During his visit in Paris on Sunday, when Macron informed Netanyahu that he supports the current American peacemaking efforts, saying “there is an opportunity for peace” now, Netanyahu was not quick to agree.

“It will be complicated to move quickly with the American plan,” the sources quoted Netanyahu as saying. “I don’t know if Abbas can supply the goods because of his internal politics. But we will cooperate with Trump’s move. I want to see a parallel process with the Arab states alongside the process with the Palestinians. Not one at the expense of the other, or one before the other, but in tandem.”

Israeli officials characterized the meeting with Macron as positive overall, and that Netanyahu was pleased by the impression that the French leader will likely not pursue the peace initiative of his predecessors. But that is not to say that there weren’t disagreements.

When Netanyahu declared, “I’m against the French peace initiative. It was a bad initiative,” Macron reportedly did not seek to defend it. Instead, he asked Netanyahu what he proposed instead.

“The Palestinian issue is complicated,” Netanyahu replied, according to the report.

But on this, Macron differed, arguing that “the problem is that you’re making it more complicated by building more and more in the settlements.”

Netanyahu, showing Macron a multi-colored map he had with him, explained that the Jewish communities in the main block in Yehudah and Shomron will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any final status settlement, and that even in other areas Jews should not be forbidden to live under Palestinian rule, if they so choose.

In his first public remarks on the issue since taking office when Mahmoud Abbas was visiting last Wednesday, Macron said: “France has always condemned the continuation of settlement building, which is illegal under international law and has reached an unprecedented level since the beginning of the year.”