Arab League slams Israel ahead of French-led peace talks

Arab League slams Israel ahead of French-led peace talks
Israel is the last bastion of fascism and colonialism, the head of the Arab League said on Saturday, ahead of the relaunch of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
2 min read
28 May, 2016
An upsurge in violence since October has killed 205 Palestinians [Getty]

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi blasted Israel as a bastion of "racism and fascism" on Saturday at a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss a French Middle East peace initiative.

The Arab ministers are expected to adopt a resolution on the plan to revive negotiations between Israel and president Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority [PA].

In his speech to the ministers, Arabi, who has been a vocal critic of Israel, said the country "has truly become today the last bastion of fascism, colonialism and racial discrimination in the world".

Abbas has rejected an Israeli offer for direct negotiations instead of the French multilateral peace initiative, which Israel has turned down.

He said that Palestinian-Israeli negotiations should have a time cap and a mechanism to implement their resolutions.

Abbas told the meeting of Arab foreign ministers that the Paris gathering should also set up a committee to monitor the implementation of whatever is agreed upon.

The French initiative involves holding a meeting of foreign ministers from a range of countries, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, on June 3, but without the Israelis and Palestinians present.

An international conference would then be held in the autumn, with the Israelis and Palestinians in attendance. The goal is an eventual relaunch of negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian state.

Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

An upsurge in violence since October has killed 205 Palestinians and 28 Israelis, however, the unrest has steadily declined in recent weeks.

Many analysts say that Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have fuelled the recent unrest.

Israel says incitement by Palestinian leaders and media is a main cause of the violence.

Agencies contributed to this report.