Israel Would Consider French Invitation

Israel Would Consider French InvitationIsrael Would Consider French Invitation

Israel would consider a French invitation to peace talks with the Palestinians, but believes France has made a mistake by saying it will recognize a Palestinian state if the talks fail, an Israeli government official said on Saturday.

“If and when we get an invitation to a conference, we will examine it and respond to it,” the official, who declined to be named, said in a statement, Reuters reported.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told foreign diplomats on Friday that if the conference he proposes hit a wall, “well ... in this case, we need to face our responsibilities by recognizing the Palestinian state”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking to African leaders at a summit in Ethiopia, urged them to back France’s conference plan.

A US official responded cautiously to Fabius’s statement.

“The US position on this issue has been clear. We continue to believe that the preferred path to resolve this conflict is for the parties to reach an agreement on final status issues directly,” the official said.

Despite anger in the US administration over Israeli settlement building, there is little prospect of President Barack Obama supporting any initiative that could upset the Israeli lobby in the US 10 months before an election.