US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday poured cold water on a French proposal
to convene Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Paris, saying there was no sign either side was ready to talk.
"Right now we are still in a wait-and-see attitude because we don't yet have any assurance from either party that they would return to negotiations," Clinton told reporters after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, saying it would not be "productive" to have a meeting now.
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon met with his US counterpart Bill Burns and told him there was no alternative to an "American lead in negotiations." He explained that the US is the most senior partner involved in the peace process. State officials said this indicates a blocking of the French initiative.
Clinton and Juppe in Washington (Photo: AFP)
Israel is inclined to reject the French proposal to host a peace summit as Israeli and Palestinian elements negotiate resumption of talks in Washington, state officials told Ynet on Monday.
Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian envoys Saeb Erekat and Nabil Abu Rudeina are currently in Washington trying to negotiate a resumption of peace talks.
"Nothing will be done without the Americans," one state official said. "They are the primary mediators and nothing will move forward without their involvement or consent.
"The Americans too don’t want to hand over the initiative to Europe and that is whay they are trying to find new ways to reignite negotiations."
The Palestinian Authority signaled willingness to embrace the French initiative, while Israeli officials stated they were "consulting on the matter with the Americans."
Attila Somfalvi, Yitzhak Benhorin and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report