French plan wants Palestinians to recognize Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people.”

June 4, 2011

The French proposal to Palestinians and Israelis calls for “two states for two peoples,” not just “a two-state solution,” an Israeli daily said.

The approach is significantly closer to Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognise Israel as “the nation state of the Jewish people.”

According to Haaretz, the French proposal to break the Palestinian-Israeli deadlock before the expected showdown at the UN General Assembly in September would revive the talks based on the principle of discussing the border issue based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, in keeping with US President Barack Obama’s speech.

Security arrangements for both sides would be negotiated, beginning with a discussion on borders and security arrangements, while talks on refugees and Occupied Jerusalem would be put off to a later date.

However, the document states explicitly that the goal of the negotiations is “two states for two peoples,” not just “a two-state solution,” as the international community and Palestinians have put it.

Contrary to the international community’s former position, the proposal does not stipulate that  Occupied Jerusalem would be the capital of both states, but only that the issue would be solved via negotiations, Haaretz said on Friday.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe offered the proposal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, one day after the document was given to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his meeting with Juppe in Rome.

Juppe made it clear to Netanyahu and Abbas that he wanted their comments on the proposal within the next few days.

Juppe said that if both sides responded favorably, France would be willing to convene a peace conference in Paris next month to resume the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a French diplomat said.

Both Netanyahu and Abbas said they would reply to the proposal within a few days. Netanyahu told Juppe that Israel is demanding that negotiations be based on an Israeli military presence on the Jordan River, the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state and acknowledgment that Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel, the official said, according to Haaretz.

Netanyahu also said the talks would not be resumed with a unity Fatah-Hamas government that “did not recognise Israel and renounced terror.”

Juppe hinted to Netanyahu that the proposal was approved by the US administration and other major European Union countries, the official said.

He said the initiative was intended to present an alternative to the Palestinians’ unilateral move to seek full UN membership in September.

If no progress is made in the peace process by September, France would consider recognising a Palestinian state, he said.

The French initiative was launched 10 days after Netanyahu’s speech in the US Congress, which disappointed the US administration as well as key EU members – France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.

Senior European diplomats said Netanyahu’s speech did not deliver the goods that could block the Palestinian move in September.

According to the Israeli daily, the five large EU states are trying to persuade the Americans to convene a meeting of the Quartet’s foreign ministers to present principles to resume the peace negotiations, including the principle to conduct the talks based on the 1967 borders with land swaps.

The Quartet – the United States, United Nations, EU and Russia – will also call for a peace conference in Paris. The Europeans believe this could dissuade the Palestinians from asking the United Nations to recognize the Palestinian state and return to the negotiations.

Haaretz said that the White House and State Department were also working on ideas to stop the Palestinian move in September, even if they do not persuade the sides to resume negotiations.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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