Last Monday, French President Jacques Chirac told Israeli vice Premier Shimon Peres that Israel should offer Palestinians a political horizon. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier proposed hosting an international conference on assisting the Palestinian Authority.

Peres, who separately met the French President and his Prime Minister, suggested focusing on economic measures, warning against including political goals, which, according to his assessment, would bring issues that could halt the process before it had even begun.

‘The correct way is first to present an economic horizon, which leads to economic democracy, and only afterward to discuss political matters.” Peres said.

Chirac wanted to know what political horizon Israel proposes for after the Gaza pullout, expressing concerns that the process might end with the disengagement.

Chirac also criticized the plan to expand Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, saying continued construction in the settlements could destroy the momentum of the peace process.

Israel has so far opposed allowing European countries to play any political role in the peace process, proposing that the EU focus only on economic issues.