Israel-Palestine conference in France: Focus on future Palestine!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Apparently, the stranded Mideast peace process that has restarted in the New Year would bring enduring peace to the region. France, a UN veto member has come forward to mediate between an arrogant nuclear power Israel and the besieged Palestine nation. Thus an international peace conference aimed at bringing a resolution to the vexed Israeli-Palestinian conflict opened in Paris on Sunday the January 15.
While it is being attended by some 70 countries, neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials were present, while the incoming Trump government of the White House was also absent.
The Security Council approved the resolution with 14 votes with the US abstaining. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not attending, called the conference “futile” at his Sunday cabinet meeting. Palestinian officials welcomed the meeting.
The talks, hosted by France, are aimed at bringing both sides back to some level of negotiations with the last round of talks collapsing in 2014. The conference comes amid rising tensions between Israeli and Palestinian leaders following December’s passing of a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.
In order not to let Israel ransack the peace effort as before, Israelis as well as Palestinians were not allowed to participate in the summit but have been invited to hear the conclusions of the meeting. The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain — as well as key European and Arab states, are attending the conference.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault opened the session, noting a two-state solution is the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East. He welcomed the delegates and remarked: “there is no time to lose” over a solution. “It is not the time to stop, the emergency remains,” he said. “The parties remain very distanced in a relationship of defiance, which is particularly dangerous, and no one is immune to a new explosion of violence.” ‘Last twitches’. “U.N. Resolution 2334 reaffirmed the need for the two-state solution. Now is not the time to stop,” Ayrault said.
Speaking at his cabinet meeting the same day, Netanyahu described the event in Paris as a “useless conference” because Israel, as before, would not agree for any peace agreement. “It is being coordinated between the French and the Palestinians,” he said. Netanyahu’s mention of “tomorrow’s world” could be in reference to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to relocate the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a proposal that has caused consternation within the international community. Israel and its Neocon agents and Zionist supporters expect Trump also to simply follow the footpath of his predecessors and support Israeli crimes and criticize the Palestinian victims of Zionist aggression.
It is the second such meeting organised by the government of President Francois Hollande after a first in June, which was attended by more than 20 nations and groups. “Mobilization has constantly grown since the 3rd of June. This has already delivered some significant results,” said Ayrault. “The two-state solution has been forcefully re-submitted. Now is definitely not the time to stop. The parties are very, very far apart, and the goal is to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.”
The peace conference was welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit to meet Pope Francis at the Holy See on Saturday the Jan 14, but it was dismissed as “rigged” by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu who wants no peace efforts from a third nation. Israel says the recommendations of the conference could turn into another Security Council resolution in the Obama administration’s final days in office.
PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas has written to Trump to say an embassy move to Jerusalem is in a bad taste of diplomacy and would have a dire effect on any chances of peace. He also warned in a recent speech that “any statement or position that disrupts or changes the status of Jerusalem is a red line which we will not accept.”
Thus far, Israel and USA, cutting across the bipartisan politics, have jointly promoted all Zionist crimes against humanity. President Obama towards his final days supported the Palestine state formation efforts by abstaining from voting in UN, enabling the resolution to pass.
So far, Israel dictated its terms to any conference and never been serious about solving the vexed problem because it enjoys occupational crimes and relished Palestinian blood. “Its goal is to try and force terms on Israel that conflict with our national needs. Of course it pushes peace further away because it hardens the Palestinian positions and it also pushes them away from direct negotiations without preconditions. “I must say that this conference is among the last twitches of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow’s world will be different — and it is very near.” Israel occupies Palestine and will have to vacate the lands in order for any peace effort to succeed. Israel knows that and hence adamant.
In order to disturb the process of Palestine state formation legally, Israel is raising the Iran issue which has long ago been settled with the nuclear deal. But Israel asks Trump to cancel the deal and promote Zionist criminal regime in Mideast as the only legitimate nation of West Asia.
The meeting produced a two-page statement signed by all 70 countries calling for continued work toward the two-state solution — Israel and a Palestinian state living side-by-side, and potentially sharing Jerusalem as a capital — which is seen as the only possible solution to the endless conflict. The statement also calls on the Palestinians to halt acts of violence, from motivating stabbing attacks at border crossings to launching rockets into Israel, and on the Israelis to stop building Jewish settlements in disputed parts of the West Bank.
The message issued by a significant portion of European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries was thought to be aimed at Trump, who has talked about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and is expected to appoint ambassadors with more hardline views of seeking peace in the region.
Outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry said after the meeting that clear progress had been made with Arab nations who, like the Palestinians, have refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist. While not being said outright, Kerry said the Arab nations in the Middle East may start changing their minds about Israel if the Palestinian issue is finally taken care of. “It’s a first when you have international organizations — the Islamic Council and the Arab League and others — willing to try to shift the paradigm here, to point out that they are prepared to make peace with Israel,” Kerry said.
Zionist bossism and military fascism
Israel has been at odds with the outgoing government of President Barack Obama, accusing the USA of directing the motion and enabling it to pass by abstaining and not using its veto power in the Security Council. The settlements are home to about 600,000 Israelis and are considered illegal under international law.
While a rare and recent UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Israeli settlement-building in the occupied territories has raised optimism, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency in the United States has raised concerns about peace prospects.
However, Trump’s assertions in favor of Zionist criminal regime and his anti-Muslims rhetoric have given fresh hopes in Tel Aviv as it refused to read the real mind of Trump. Israel is damn sure it can easily fool incoming President Trump with his anti-Muslim and anti-Iran feelings so that it would continue to enjoy the military support of Pentagon that keeps adding more and more terror goods into Zionist arm depots to be used against Palestine and Mideastern Arab nations. Senior French officials met a few weeks ago in New York with Trump’s advisers and presented the program for the conference. Trump’s team reportedly objected to the conference, especially five days before Trump’s inauguration.
Under pressure from powerful Jewish lobbies in Washington, President-elect Donald Trump said he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and also opposed the UN resolution asking Israel to remove all settlements in Palatine. He has stopped talking about shifting US embassy to Jerusalem, however. Trump has nominated a pro-settlement American as his ambassador to Israel and suggested the US embassy could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in what would be a highly contentious decision. Ayrault told France 3 TV he thought the move to shift US embassy would cause “extremely serious consequences.” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that such a move could “bury the hopes for a two-state solution.”
Israel has opposed international involvement in the peace process and wants direct talks. Ayrault said that he and other senior French officials met with both sides in recent months, and said he is willing to travel to the region to present the conference’s conclusions. “The goal is to put an end to this conflict so that this region can live in peace and prosperity,” Ayrault said. Ayrault praised outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his peace process effort. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. did not “want to see anything that attempts to impose a solution on Israel.”
Israel wants world to leave the Palestine issue to Israeli government so that it could “arrange bogus talks with Palestinians on its own terms and also keep killing the Palestinians and take away their lands for illegal settlement constructions for Jews.
Playing mischief with both Palestinians and international community, Netanyahu’s divided government has strongly opposed international interventions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing preconditions put in place by world powers make bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians more difficult. Netanyahu jokes the conference was coordinated between the French and Palestinians. “These are the death throes of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow will look different,” Netanyahu said. But Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union, said that Netanyahu should have attended the Paris peace conference.
Israel says peace is possible only according to its designs and at its own terms. Israeli leader Netanyahu had balked at attending the conference, saying it “pushes peace backwards”. “It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians, under French auspices, to adopt additional anti-Israel stances,” Netanyahu said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was also absent as France is not clear about his role for the conference.
Palestine and Vatican
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas formally opened an embassy of Palestine at the Vatican City on the eve of a peace conference meant to revive long-stalled talks with Israel. The embassy confers a new level of legitimacy on Palestinian President Abbas, who was granted an audience with Pope Francis on Saturday. While the Vatican has maintained close ties with Israel, Francis has increasingly spoken on behalf of the Palestinian people, encouraging both sides to reach a deal that creates a Palestinian state recognized by Israel. This embassy is a place of pride for us and we hope that all of the countries of the world recognize the state of Palestine, because this recognition will bring us closer to the peace process,” Abbas said at the Vatican.
Abbas is headed to Paris next to participate in a 70-member conference on Middle East peace hosted by the French government. The Israeli government appears unlikely to attend the conference, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “futile.”
Without representatives of Israel or Palestine, leaders from 70 nations around the world gathered in Paris to discuss the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with particular attention paid to working toward a two-state solution and the need for both sides to hold back on unilateral action.
Palestinians have long called for the creation of a state along the pre-1967 border with Israel that includes land on the West Bank, Gaza Strip and with sovereign control over east Jerusalem, the latter of which is a nonstarter for Israel, which views the whole of Jerusalem as its capital.
This Pope shows great moral clarity by offering support against Israeli persecution of the indigenous Christian and Muslim population that have suffered under the daily horror of occupation for more than a generation. As more light is shined on Israel’s action, the hope for relief increases, and the scourge of occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing through settlements becomes unequivocally condemned.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas raised the Palestinian flag over the Palestinian Embassy in the Vatican after meeting with Pope Francis. The two reportedly discussed the French peace conference scheduled for Paris on Sunday; and talked about events and how the situation has changed since the Pontiff extended full diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine in 2015 – a move that angered Israeli officials. Abbas used the opportunity to repeat his warning about repercussions if President Trump moves the US Embassy to Jerusalem and complained to Francis about moves by Israel he says are intended to “Juda-ize” the Holy City. Abbas also called on nations to follow the Vatican’s lead and recognize Palestine. Israeli officials were angered by the Vatican recognition and by Pope Francis’s characterization of President Abbas as the “angel of peace.” The post PA President Abbas Opens Vatican Embassy; Meets with Pope Francis
US President-elect Donald Trump is also expected to enter the White House with a different approach that could change years of cautious, seemingly endless efforts for peace — and Israeli Netanyahu called the talks “rigged” to make Israel look bad.
French President François Hollande said while starting the afternoon session at the conference that the two-state solution, which the international community has agreed on for many years, appears threatened by Israeli arrogance refusals. “It is physically threatened on the ground by the acceleration of settlements, it is politically threatened by the progressive weakening of the peace camp, it is morally threatened by the distrust that has accumulated between the parties, and that has certainly been exploited by extremists.”
All eyes are on US Secretary of State John Kerry to see whether he will build upon his recent scathing indictment of Israeli policies in post-1967 areas or walk-back some of the intensity of his 70-minute diatribe in his last appearance as SecState on the foreign stage.
Meanwhile Israeli PM Netanyahu is facing serious corruption charges that threaten his very stay in power too long. Undoubtedly spurred on by endless media coverage of two corruption cases against Netanyahu while the smell of political blood waxes increasingly pungent to his opposition foes, the next step played out in the streets of Tel Aviv when hundreds of members of left-leaning political parties marched in what was billed as a protest to the Netanyahu government’s “corruption and detachment from the people.”
What first became known to the populace as an investigation into Netanyahu and his family receiving unilateral gifts – cigars and Champagne worth tens of thousands of dollars – from a wealthy Israeli Hollywood producer for whom the prime minister asked US Secretary of State John Kerry for help in obtaining a 10-year work visa escalated sharply when it became known that prosecutors had a tape that documented Netanyahu negotiating with the owner of an opposition newspaper to exchange lenient coverage of the prime minister’s re-election bid in return for the prime minister taking measures to level the competition against the leading competitor newspaper.
Opposition leaders are fixed on the immediate goal of bringing the matter to the point where an indictment is issued against Netanyahu, at which point he will be required to step down from office.
Since October 2015, 2247 Palestinians, 40 Israelis, two Americans, a Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese national have been killed in a wave of violence, according to an AFP news agency count.
The views of Israel and the Palestinians are known to the key players. While President-elect Donald Trump is not the first presidential candidate to vow to move the embassy as one of his first acts in office, unlike Presidents Clinton and Bush, many believe Trump is brash enough and unmoved by diplomatic precedent to be the one to make the move.
Though representatives from 70 countries and organisations arrived, hopes of a breakthrough in the stagnant peace process were low without any representatives from either the Palestinian Authority or Israeli government at the “Conference for Peace in the Middle East” held in France’s capital, Paris.
French sponsored Middle East peace initiative in Paris has reconvened, promoting renewed confidence in the ever-elusive two-state solution. Now it is for the international community to push forward the resolution and get Israel on its side in order to help establish a much delayed Palestine state not only as a full-fledged UN member but also a genuinely soverign to safeguards its territories and people, assets without the Zionist terror intimidation.
Even as the representatives of 72 countries were meeting in Paris for a one day Peace Summit in the latest bid to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinians walked through Zionist wire fences on a path that leads to a checkpoint in the Israeli separation wall that surrounds the Shurafat Refugee Camp northeast of Jerusalem. While the Palestinians welcome the multinational approach to brings the two sides to the negotiating table, Netanyahu says the Paris peace talks are ‘useless’ without Israeli approval and seal. The last round of direct peace talks collapsed in April 2014 because of Israeli arrogance. Last month, the UN passed a resolution denouncing Israel’s settlement activity on occupied land.
French conference addressed actions of the Palestinian Authority in a call for both parties to desist from taking “unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations.” The French hosts of the conference are attempting to blunt Israeli criticism of the event by reiterating that the initiative does not seek to impose a solution or undermine the need for the parties themselves to arrive at an agreement. Also aimed at Israel, the French are seeking a renewal of each side’s commitment to the two-state solution and for heads-of-governments to publicly renounce government officials who suggest solutions other than the two-state as promulgated by the Quartet – the international entity brokering the Israeli-Palestinian peace process comprised of the US, United Nations, European Union and Russia.
Crimes being committed by Israeli regime and military must be thoroughly investigated and guilty punished by ICJ and ICC. The Palestinian Authority campaigns for agency-by-agency recognition at the United Nations and the bringing of cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Le Figaro in Paris that if the Trump government supports Israeli regime and shift US embassy to Jerusalem, the PA might rescind its recognition of Israel. Abbas has written to the president-elect asking that the move the embassy to Jerusalem not happen and outlining the threatened repercussions if the embassy is moved. Nevertheless, Israelis are concerned by the mixed-messages they are hearing from Team Trump ranging from the pledges to move the embassy on one hand to the statement by defense secretary-designate Gen. Mattis telling his confirmation inquisitors that the capital of Israel is “Tel Aviv.”
There is the belief among diplomats and statesmen that the new US government under Trump might offer a quid pro quo to the Palestinians such as a formal American diplomatic entity in Palestinian territory. Until now, contact with the Palestinians is severed from the US ambassador and embassy and instead rests with the Consul General in the Jerusalem Consulate.
The French conference aiming to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians is expected to above all send a unified message from 70 participating countries to the American president-elect not to fulfill his promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The consensus behind the message is that the embassy move would sound a death knell to the two-state solution which the international conventional wisdom deems to be the only road to peace on the Israeli-Palestinian track.
The one-day Paris conference focused on economic incentives, efforts by civil society groups, and “capacity building” for a future Palestinian state. The French-led effort to kick-start long-stalled discussions on a two-state solution between Palestinians and Israelis got under way with the two main players absent from the summit. But it was met with widespread skepticism. “The only interesting thing will be whether Hollande in his speech brings back the idea of recognising a Palestinian state, but I don’t think he will,” Alain Gresh, a journalist with Le Monde Diplomatique, told Al Jazeera While hopes for a revitalized peace process were low, the sheer number of participants at the conference on Sunday was noteworthy. “We are expecting at the end of the day for the 70 countries here to pledge their commitment to a two-state solution, and call on both sides to stop ongoing violence,” Butler said.
The Paris meeting is considered significant as the conflict has become contentious again, at least partially because Israel has restarted construction of settlements in land the Palestinians dispute amid continued acts of violence against Israel by Palestinians. Diplomats at a conference on peace in the Middle East said in a joint statement for Israel and Palestine to rededicate themselves to a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict and offering suggestions for how to get there.
USA must without any further delay recognize Palestine state as its diplomatic duty. American recognition of Palestine would go a long way in streamlining and revising US policy for Mideast so that peace is guaranteed to Palestinian children about their right to live.
Granting full UN membership to Palestine state and dignity to Palestinian community is absolutely necessary for creating a just and democratic world beyond Mideast and West Asia.
President trump needs to take responsibility of making fascist Israel behave and become a normal nation. It has to declare to UNSC its nuke assets and if it continues to be irresponsible, UNSC must initiate punitive measures against this rogue state that target Palestinians and Arab world.