Despite the aspirations of French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to add some warmth to their meeting Sunday at the Elysee Palace in Paris, a joint press conference that followed their talks revealed the tensions between them over Washington’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
It was evident that Macron sought to push Netanyahu in the direction of adopting moderate positions or initiative to defuse tension with the Palestinians.
His efforts however fell on deaf ears and each side remained attached to his known stance concerning Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The French President reiterated that his country refused the move based on two main justifications: The decision contravenes all rules of international law and poses a threat to peace in the Middle East.
Paris believes that the region does not need further hotbeds of tensions that add to the existing wars.
Macron had previously even directly talked by telephone with Trump and said his move on Jerusalem was “regrettable.”
Faced with the French positions, Netanyahu had no choice but to reiterate his previous statements delivered last Wednesday. “Recognition of Jerusalem was essential for the peace process because peace must be built on the foundation of truth,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
And like every occasion, Netanyahu held the Palestinian side responsible for its consistent refusal to resume talks with Tel Aviv since spring 2014 because of the Israeli cabinet’s rejection to freeze the building of settlements.
In this regard, despite Macron’s repeated calls that Netanyahu initiate a courageous move and build trust with the Palestinians to end the current stalemate, his cries were not positively received by the Israeli PM.