Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed an upcoming peace conference in Paris as "rigged" and the "last gasp of the past." The summit follows a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
Israel would not be obliged to follow any conclusions from the upcoming Paris summit, Netanyahu said while meeting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende on Thursday.
"It's a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances," the Israeli leader said, according to his office.
France expects 72 countries and several international organizations to attend the conference, set to start on Sunday. Palestinians support the initiative. However, Israel rejected the summit saying that peace could only come as the result of bilateral talks.
"This pushes peace backwards," Netanyahu said while meeting Brende. "It's a relic of the past. It's a last gasp of the past before the future sets in."
Waiting for Trump
Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians have been at a standstill since the initiative of US State Secretary John Kerry failed in 2014. Despite the long-running partnership between Washington and Tel Aviv, Israeli authorities have recently signaled open hostility towards the outgoing US administration and expressed hope that US President-elect Donald Trump would pursue an even more pro-Israeli policy.
Last month, the United States refused to veto a UN resolution slamming the Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories. The document called the settlements illegal and said they were "dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution."
Israel responded with outrage, limiting ties to members of the Security Council that supported the resolution. While Washington abstained from the vote, Netanyahu's office accused the White House of helping to draft the text.
Israeli authorities are continuing their settlement efforts, adding to some 570,000 people who already live in the occupied areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank.
dj/sms (AFP, Reuters, AP)