France's top diplomat has arrived for talks with the leaders of Palestine and Israel. The trip comes as a French-backed regional peace plan is set to be presented to the United Nations.
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu rejected all "international dictates" to resolve the conflict with Palestinians on Sunday as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited the region to advocate for a Paris-sponsored UN draft resolution setting a deadline for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.
Netanyahu said all the international proposals he has seen would make Israel unsafe and that any agreement must be made directly between his nation and Palestine.
"The only way to reach an agreement is through bilateral negotiations, and we will forcibly reject any attempts to force upon us international dictates," said Netanyahu hours before he was due to meet Fabius.
"In the international proposals that have been suggested to us, which they are actually trying to force upon us, there is no real reference to Israel's security needs or our other national interests. They are simply trying to push us into indefensible borders while completely ignoring what will happen on the other side of the border," the president said during a cabinet meeting.
The French proposal calls for re-establishing the Israeli-Palestinian border along the pre-1967 line, before Israel seized the West Bank in the Yom Kippur War.
In a press conference ahead of his meeting with Fabius, Netanyahu repeated his disapproval of the international deal to curb Iran's nuclear program, asking France to "stand firm" against it. He also used the occasion to announce that Egypt's government was sending an ambassador to Israel, indicating a thaw in relations.
Fabius: peace talks must resume immediately
Fabius' first stop was a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he said the conflict would be "set ablaze" if peace talks were not restarted as soon as possible.
"The aim is to present a number of ideas and I haven't done that yet, so let's not prejudge," said Fabius, who is part of an international effort to restart negotiations after more than a year-long lull.
"This word 'dictate' is part of neither French vocabulary nor the French proposals," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, a Palestinian stabbed and gravely wounded an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem. The police officer shot his attacker, who was also critically wounded. Sunday's incident followed a similar one on Friday when an Israeli hiker was shot to death by a Palestinian on the West Bank.
es/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)