MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies at the cabinet try to derail the international ministerial meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace scheduled for June 3 in Paris by pushing for direct talks and proposing to discuss the Arab Peace Initiative to reach a settlement of the conflict, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told Sputnik on Tuesday.
"Netanyahu and his allies try to use any opportunity to derail the International meeting in Paris. Netanyahu already asked the French minister of foreign affairs and the prime minister to push for direct negotiations with [Palestinian leader Mahmoud] Abbas instead of a French multilateral peace meeting," Abdel Hafiz Nofal said.
The ambassador underlined that Palestine dismisses Netanyahu's proposal and sees it as an attempt to demand in exchange a recognition of the Jewish state and to start negotiations without any witnesses.
"I believe it is a big joke from Netanyahu and [Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor] Lieberman who are trying to send a misleading message to the international community. For any format of negotiations, we need the international community as a witness and we need a timetable. First and foremost, we need a clear statement that Israel is willing to stop its settlement policy, as the only way to restart the negotiations," Nofal stressed.
Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition of their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. Israel has been building settlements on the occupied territories, despite objection from the United Nations.