France warns of explosion if no Mideast peace

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Sunday of an “explosion” in the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, after Paris said it would propose a U.N. resolution to set a framework for negotiations.

The Palestinians have welcomed the initiative, hoping the international community will assume a greater role in resolving the conflict after more than two decades of failed U.S.-led peace efforts. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would “fiercely reject” any international demands on the talks.

Palestinian officials and French diplomats say the proposal would call for basing the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state on the lines that existed before the 1967 war. It also would set a two-year deadline for an agreement.

Israel rejects a return to its pre-1967 lines, saying they are indefensible, and does not want to set a deadline for an agreement.

“The most important thing for us is again to seek peace and security and the necessity to have two states,” Fabius said Sunday after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “Let’s take the lessons from the past and try to move forward.”

Fabius said he had spoken recently with Egypt’s president and Jordan’s king, and “they both told me the same thing, there is a great concern that if things continue to be frozen like this then an explosion could happen.”

Netanyahu, speaking during his joint news conference with Fabius, dismissed the notion of U.N. resolutions as a basis for making peace.

“Peace will only come from direct negotiations of the two parties and without conditions. It will not come from U.N. resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside,” Netanyahu said. He accused the Palestinians of avoiding direct talks, and then said that “if they [other powers] attempt to impose terms on Israel, this attempt will fail and drive peace away.”

Earlier Sunday in Jerusalem’s Old City, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer, who then shot the assailant, police said. Both men were wounded in the exchange. A Palestinian Friday shot and killed an Israeli hiker in the West Bank.

Netanyahu warned at his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday that attacks against Israelis would continue unless the world takes Israel’s security concerns into account.

“In international proposals that are proposed to us, or actually are being imposed on us, there is no real addressing of Israel’s security needs or other national interests of ours,” he said.