Mideast Daily News

Paris Peace Conference Concludes with No Tangible Result

By Michael Friedson | The Media Line

January 16, 2017

French President Francois Hollande arrives for the Mideast peace conference in Paris on January 15, 2017. (Photo: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Francois Holland’s Middle East peace gambit came and went in Paris on Sunday, but for many what was not said or did not happen was the measure of the conference. With neither Israel nor the Palestinians in attendance, the 70 participating nations had their opportunity to invoke the mantra of the two-state solution and acknowledge as did President Holland, that only the parties themselves can make peace – all while warning the new American president not to move his embassy to Jerusalem. Many felt the backstory – the American refusal to veto the recent United Nations Security Council resolution followed by US Secretary of State John Kerry’s scathing rebuke of Israeli government policies – overshadowed and perhaps undercut the French effort. That became evident with the crafting of the conference’s concluding statement devoid of any notable agenda or marching order; and a communique issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office that spoke of Kerry’s concern that “Israel had already suffered damage after the US did not veto a Security Council resolution and it should not be compounded.” The Israeli statement quoted Kerry as promising the conference would “have no resulting consequences” – specifically that there would be no resolution in Paris or later at the UN Security Council and if there was, the US would veto it. Israeli had opposed the concept of the conference, arguing that internationalizing the conflict and attempts to resolve it only make it more difficult to maneuver diplomatically. Among the Palestinians, the Fatah faction supported the conference but most others opposed it, some opining inevitable futility because the US would prevent any results of substance. But among the international community, many felt that because of recent events – including the election of Donald Trump to the American presidency — the true purpose of the French conference was to assemble a formidable array of international strength all singing to the President-elect from the same page. The songs: “Don’t upset the two-state solution” and “The Embassy belongs in Tel Aviv.”


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