Palestinians reject Netanyahu’s call for direct peace talks in Paris

Palestinians-reject-Netanyahus-call-for-direct-peace-talks-in-Paris.  JERUSALEM,  The Palestinian Authority on Monday rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to hold direct peace talks in Paris.

The Palestinian Authority on Monday rejected calls by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine in Paris, as opposed to France’s plan to hold a peace conference beginning June 3. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, left, and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, right, met in Ramallah, West Bank, on Tuesday. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Netanyahu previously rejected France’s proposal to hold a Middle East peace conference and instead suggested holding direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Israeli leader urged French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to cancel a summit conference of at least 20 countries in Paris on June 3 in attempts to begin Middle East peace.

Jamal Dajani, the director of communications for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, later said direct talks with Israel would not occur.

“Direct negotiations with Mr. Netanyahu in the past have proven to be fruitless; why repeat the same mistakes?” Dajani said Monday. “Actions speak louder than words … Mr. Netanyahu’s actions have shown that he’s more interested in building illegal settlements than in reaching peace.”

Valls visited Israeli and Palestinian territories during a recent three-day trip, where he met with Netanyahu and Hamdallah.

Israeli and Palestinian authorities are not invited to the first meeting of the planned peace conference and both have already said they would not attend regardless of an invitation.

The Palestinian Authority has preferred an international peace process, largely because many countries seek Israel’s return to pre-1967 borders and a halt to Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel has said turning to the international community allows the Palestinians to bypass talks of substance.

Netanyahu previously said direct negotiations are the “the only way to achieve peace.”

“We will not achieve it through a U.N.-style international conference, or diktats from the international community regarding our security,” Netanyahu said. “Peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations, in which the Palestinians have to decide whether they recognize the state of Israel or continue to hope that it will vanish. We want two states for two peoples and a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.”

Ed Adamczyk contributed to this report.

By Andrew V. Pestano