Israel slams, Palestinians welcome French statehood ultimatum

France's threat that it would recognize Palestine as a state if peace negotiations with Israel were not renewed only discourages the Palestinians from compromising, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. 

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Friday said France was trying to convene an international peace summit on the issue. He issued an ultimatum that - if the talks failed - France would formally recognize a Palestinian state.

"This constitutes an incentive for the Palestinians not to compromise," Netanyahu told his cabinet in Jerusalem. 

"The essence of negotiations is compromise... And the French initiative ... in fact gives the Palestinians advance reasons not to do that," he charged.

He reiterated Israel was "ready to enter into direct negotiations without precondition and dictations."

The last attempt at talks collapsed in April 2014. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will take part in talks on condition of a settlement freeze.

The Palestinian government, in a statement from Ramallah, welcomed the French initiative, with a spokesman saying "it serves the aspiration for peace in the Middle East and a two-state solution."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he supported "an inclusive and serious international involvement towards ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the full realization of a free, independent and sovereign State of Palestine on the 1967 borders."

Last update: Sun, 31/01/2016 - 17:14

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