Israel on Friday summoned the French ambassador over his country’s support this week for a failed Palestinian bid to pass a United Nations resolution calling for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by 2013, formally expressing its “deep disappointment”.
The Foreign Ministry’s Director-General Aviv Shir the ambassador, Patrick Maisonnave, to the ministry in Jerusalem and said that the only way for progress to be made on the diplomatic track with the Palestinians was through direct negotiations and not through unilateral actions or declarations.
France was one of eight countries that supported the Palestinian bid in the Security Council, a bid that fell one-vote short of the nine necessary to pass, and which then would have triggered a US veto. The US, along with Australia, voted against, and five other countries – Rwanda, Nigeria, South Korea, Britain and Lithuania – abstained.
The decision to summon Maisonnave to Jerusalem to issue a formal protest articulated both the surprise and frustration in Jerusalem at the French vote. France was also working on a resolution to bring to the Security Council which – though not to Israel’s liking – was more moderate in its language than the Palestinian resolution that was put forward.
During the meeting at the Israeli foreign ministry, the French ambassador said that the international community is of one mind over the need to break the diplomatic stalemate and the dangerous status quo.
According to him, France voted as it did in order to encourage the sides back to the negotiating table.
Maisonnave also said that France disagreed with several parts in the Palestinian resolution and therefore tried to formulate its own draft.
He noted that the vote was not aimed against Israel, but an effort to prevent further unilateral steps that would strengthen extremists on both sides. “That’s exactly what happened after the Security Council rejected the proposal, and the Palestinians went to The Hague,” the ambassador said.