Peace deal cannot be coerced, Netanyahu says ahead of French summit



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Cherie Cullen.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Ahead of the June 3 French peace summit meant to address the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that peace cannot be coerced and that the conference may actually harm future prospects for peace.

The foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, and 28 European Union countries will meet in Paris for the summit, but representatives from neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority will be present.

“If the countries gathering this week in Paris really want to advance peace, they must join my call to [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to enter into direct negotiations,” Netanyahu said at the graduation ceremony of Bar-Ilan University’s faculty of medicine in Safed.

“That is the only path to peace—there is no other,” he said. “The path to peace does not pass though international committees that are trying to coerce an agreement, radicalize Palestinian demands and in doing so, distance peace.”

The prime minister insisted that Israel will continue to seek peace.

“The path to peace passes through direct negotiations between the two sides, without preconditions,” he said. “That is how it was in the past when we made peace with Egypt and with Jordan, and that is how it must be with the Palestinians. We will not stop looking for paths to peace.”

Posted on June 2, 2016 .