French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will visit Israel from 21-24 May in an attempt to resume the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The visit follows the worst violence since 2014 between Israel and Gaza last week which broke a two-year-old ceasefire. Valls will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 23 May.
Valls also plans to meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, former prime minister Shimon Peres and opposition leader Isaac Herzog. He will meet Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah on 24 May.
On 30 May, a summit will be held in Paris that will be attended by ministers from least 20 countries to relaunch the peace process. Palestinians have welcomed the summit and held off a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements to focus on this summit, while Israel insists on finding a solution through bilateral negotiations. Israelis and Palestinians will not attend the summit.
French foreign minister Marc Ayrault said the goal of the visit is to organise another summit in the second half of 2016, to which Israeli and Palestinian leaders will be invited.
In April, France backed a Unesco resolution that condemned the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The resolution strongly deplored "the Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims' access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif."
Netanyahu called the resolution "yet another absurd decision by the UN". The Director General of the Israeli Foreign ministry, Dore Gold, said: "The Unesco resolution has no practical validity. Nevertheless, we will not permit international entities to blur the Jewish people's connection to its eternal capital," Al Jazeera reported.