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Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu Says 70-Nation Conference ‘Rigged, Pushes Peace Backwards’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the conference is "rigged," that it was deliberately set up to establish measures against Israel and that it destroys chances of achieving true peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, July 24, 2016.

Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Israel will not be present at the conference in Paris that will be attended by about 70 nations on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Likewise, Palestine will not be at the conference, because the so-called Paris Peace Conference will gather different nations to decide on the next steps for Israel and Palestine while leaving the two countries out of the process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the conference destroys chances of achieving peace with Palestine.

“We’re all faced here with a great challenge against the forces of terrorism that not only seek to destroy Israel but seek of course to render any possibility of peace totally hopeless,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “There are other such efforts that render peace hopeless and one of them is the Paris conference.”

Netanyahu also said Sunday’s meeting is “rigged” and was deliberately set up to establish measures against Israel.

“It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances,” he said.

The prime minister said the conference is a step backward to solving the problem between Israel and Palestine. He also alluded that it is a last-minute attempt to force upon Israel a two-state solution with Palestine before U.S. president-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated.

“This pushes peace backwards. It’s not going to obligate us,” he said. “It’s a relic of the past. It’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

Netanyahu has repeatedly called for bilateral negotiations with Palestine, a move that Trump has openly supported.

Earlier this week, Israeli news outlet Haaretz got hold of a copy of the draft closing statement for Sunday's conference. The document says participants of the meeting would call on Israel and Palestine to “restate their commitment to a two-state solution” and to dismiss deviating opinions.

The draft also supports the recently approved U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which says Israel’s settlement project “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The resolution also mandates all construction within the areas recaptured by Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War to stop.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the Paris Peace Conference is “a farce.”

"There is no peace conference in Paris,” Bennett told CBN News. “There's an attempt to force Israel to give up our own capital of Jerusalem, to surrender our own land to radical Islam.”

"They don't accept the fact that this has been our land for 4,000 years as anyone who opens the Bible can actually read. They want to annihilate this Jewish state. We're not going to let that happen," he said.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the only way Israel and Palestine can have peace is by “direct negotiation,” a method Israel has used successfully with other neighboring countries.

"We reached peace with two of our neighbors – Egypt and Jordan – by direct negotiation. Everyone knows that in the end of the day Israelis and Palestinians should sit together," Hotovely told CBN News.

On the contrary, having conferences such as the Paris conference only makes the Palestinians believe that “the international community can solve the problems, can give them all what they want without speaking to the Israeli side," Hotovely added.

In New York, an estimated 5,000 people gathered at the French Mission to the United Nations on Thursday to show their support for Israel and to protest Sunday’s conference. The protest was led by The North American Coalition for Israel.

The group called on the U.N. to stop its “unjust targeting of Israel and focus on real issues such as Syrian genocide and Global Islamic terror.”

Tags : Israel, Palestine, Israel two-state solution, Paris Peace Conference, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, 1967 Six-Day War, East Jerusalem, Western Wall, Temple Mount