Recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron supports a two-state solution but openly condemns the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sections) Movement on Israel as anti-Semitic.
Reports have already surfaced that the French president may call for a third Middle East Peace Conference in 2018. Israel and the Palestinians were not invited to the last conference held in January of 2017. The conference, which was attended by 70 state representatives in Paris, endorsed United Nations Security Resolution 2334 as well as the six principles that US Secretary of State John Kerry during his speech from December of 2016.
Israel has been clear that it will only enter negotiations directly with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Netanyahu offering several times to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas since the conferece.
Macron stated in Beirut in January that France would “conduct an independent and balanced policy that would guarantee a dialogue by all sides and the construction of peace,” the French president speaking very little on France’s stance towards the conflict during his campaign.
Macron will reportedly wait until after President Trump’s visit next week to Israel before announcing an additional conference.
Trump will arrive to Israel for two days on May 22. He will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on his first day and then to meet with Abbas on his second day ahead of traveling to Rome.
There have been reports that Trump may address the American Embassy move to Jerusalem, as well as reports, which the White House denied, that Trump would announce the initiation of peace talks.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to reports on the embassy move on Sunday, focusing on the good the embassy move would do amidst anti-Israel efforts at UNESCO stating “Israel’s position has been stated many times to the US government and to the world. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem will not only not harm the peace process, it will advance it by correcting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
In an interview Sunday, United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded to reports on the embassy move and Trump’s upcoming visit to the region. He stated that the United States “has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding,” and that “the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, May 15, 2017, and reposted with permission.