PM Netanyahu during a cabinet meeting. (Amit Shabi/POOL)

Netanyahu reiterated that Israel would not accept a process that would harm its security and force it to make concessions, while the Palestinians refuse to negotiate. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the French initiative forcing Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians under a threat that if the negotiations fail, as they have repeatedly in the past, France would unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state, saying that such an initiative did not promote peace and gave the Palestinians an incentive to dig in deeper in their reluctance to compromise.

“At the same time, you certainly heard of the proposal being raised in certain quarters in France, to convene an international conference with the threat at the end that if it is unsuccessful, then France will – to a large degree – adopt the Palestinian position,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet on Sunday.

“This will be an incentive for the Palestinians to come and not compromise,” Netanyahu warned.

“The substance of negotiations is compromise and the French initiative, as it has been reported, in effect gives the Palestinians in advance reasons not to do so,” the premier explained, expressing his hope that “we will see a sobering up on this issue.”

Netanyahu said that Israel will continue to fight the French initiative, reiterating that Israel’s position “is very clear: we are prepared to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions and without dictated conditions.”

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Clearly understating the essence of the move, the Palestinians endorsed the French diplomatic maneuver.

The French have long been promoting international initiatives to coerce Israel into a diplomatic process that would harm its security, including endorsing a recent European Union (EU) condemnation of Israeli policies.

Speaking to the French leadership last week, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog called on the French to cease from their efforts to corner Israel in the international arena.

“Decisions of this nature serve as a reward for terrorism and for BDS [anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement]. They paralyze the chances of regional moves,” Herzog reportedly told French President Francois Hollande and French Foreign Minister Laurent last Friday. “Israelis would not accept diktats from the world. Israel is a sovereign nation and any move or decision of this nature hurt the Israeli public’s willingness to move forward towards changing the situation in the Middle East.”