Netanyahu Abbas

Israeli leader Bibi Netanyahu with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a rare meeting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has turned on yet another world leader, after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris would recognise the State of Palestine if Israel could not agree a two-state solution.

Netanyahu’s rebuke comes only days after he accused United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of giving a “tailwind to terrorism” for highlighting the role of “Israeli oppression” in the latest round of violence. Mr Ban subsequently replied: “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

It comes as France tries to convene an international summit to renew diplomatic efforts to reach a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, with Fabius issuing an ultimatum to Jerusalem ahead of the conference.

“France defends the idea that [recognition] should happen within the framework of a comprehensive and definitive solution to the conflict, negotiated by the two parties,” he said. “If negotiation is impossible, or if there are no conclusions, France will shoulder its responsibilities by recognising without delay the State of Palestine.”

Addressing his cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said he expected the French position to change, adding: “I assess that there will be a sobering up regarding this matter.”

However, there is little sign of that happening, with frustration and criticism of Israel in international circles growing. 

Both the United States and the European Union have voiced unusually strong condemnation in the past month, and on Tuesday, the Spanish foreign ministry expressed “deep concern at the loss of many dozens of lives” of Palestinians as a result of Israel’s “use of force,” while Sweden’s foreign minister has called for an investigation into the deaths.