Construction of Israeli settlements in disputed territory is a barrier to the peace process with the Palestinians.
Construction of Israeli settlements in disputed territory is a barrier to the peace process with the Palestinians. Sebastian Scheiner

Israel won't join meeting to resolve Palestine

A FRENCH attempt to resolve conflict between Israel and Palestinians has failed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refusing to join an international conference.

His stated reason for not attending the meeting France had planned for next month was that direct talks should resume between the sides.

His office said he told France "true progress in the peace process ... will come only through direct negotiations ... any other initiative only pushes the region further away from this process.”

Some US-mediated peace talks collapsed in 2014.

Mr Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to meet for direct negotiations.

Mr Abbas has refused unless Israel stops building settlements and restarts a prisoner release that Mr Netanyahu cancelled.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat met French envoy Pierre Vimont and said, "We stand shoulder to shoulder with France, with all other nations on earth that are aiming to achieve peace through preserving the two-state solution.”



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