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Netanyahu expresses doubt about Trump peace push in meeting with Macron: report

French President Emmanuel Macon calls for a resumption of Middle East peace talks as he holds his first official talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
STEPHANE MAHE (POOL/AFP)
Macron tells Netanyahu France will continue to oppose Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his doubts about ongoing efforts made by the Trump administration to secure a peace deal with the Palestinians at a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, Haaretz reported.

During a meeting between the two leaders in Paris, Macron asserted that he supports Trump's peace efforts but Netanyahu expressed cynicism.

“It will be complicated to move quickly with the American plan,” Netanyahu reportedly told Macron. “I don’t know if Abbas can supply the goods because of his internal politics. But we will cooperate with Trump’s move. I want to see a parallel process with the Arab states alongside the process with the Palestinians. Not one at the expense of the other, or one before the other, but in tandem.”

During the meeting between the two leaders in Paris, Netanyahu reportedly directed the conversation to topics of discussion that he deemed important including the cease -fire in Syria, Hezbollah's military capacity in Lebanon, the Iranian nuclear threat and cooperation between Israel and France.

Diplomatic sources told Haaertz that Macron told Netanyahu that recent Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank complicates the situation, making it much worse.

Macron reportedly asked Netanyahu what he thought about a peace initiative that was proposed by former President François Hollande.

“I’m against the French peace initiative. It was a bad initiative,” Netanyahu said in the meeting.

The two leaders reportedly then had an exchange in which Macron pressed Netanyahu about the issue of settlements.

“The Palestinian issue is complicated,” Netanyahu told Macron.

Macron agreed and then replied, “The problem is that you’re making it more complicated by building more and more in the settlements.”

Macron then made it clear that France would continue to oppose Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.

Netanyahu affirmed that not all Jewish settlements in the West Bank should be treated equally and that he would not force settlers to evacuate in the future if a peace deal were attained, as they should have the right to live in a Palestinian state.

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