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Paris Peace Conference 2017- much ado about nothing?

Despite much stir leading up to the event, the one-day Paris Peace Conference of 2017 convened and ended on Sunday with mixed and contradictory reactions across the political spectrum from observers and attendees - and much blame for lack of peace on Israeli settlements.

Despite much stir leading up to the event, the one-day Paris Peace Conference of 2017 convened and ended on Sunday with mixed and contradictory reactions across the political spectrum from observers and attendees – and much blame for lack of peace on Israeli settlements.

Equating Palestinian terrorism with Israeli habitation on disputed land, the delegates declared their support for what they call a “just, lasting and comprehensive resolution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the end of a day of speeches, the general consensus of the world’s representatives who had spent the weekend in Paris was that the only way to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East is to have two states living side by side with security and peace.

“After nearly a year of efforts, France is holding an international conference bringing together all the states attached to seeking peace,” French Ambassador to the United Nations, Francois Delattre announced.

Notably and ironically absent from the peace summit were both Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The day before the conference, originally scheduled for December, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that Sunday’s event is “like a wedding with neither bride nor groom and peace will be achieved by the sides only through direct talks and not external coercion.”

She explained that trying to avoid direct talks is creating a very harmful illusion on the Palestinian side.

“Unfortunately, the only country that the pressure is on is Israel,” she said. “The Paris peace conference won’t do anything in order to reach true and real peace in the region.”

From his regularly scheduled cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the conference “useless.”

“It is being coordinated between the French and the Palestinians. Its goal is to try and force terms on Israel that conflict with our national needs,” he said. “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.”

At the conference opening, French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault told the over 70 countries represented that there was no other solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than the two-state solution.

“I am aware of the reservations around this conference and the doubt about if it should be held at this time,” he admitted.

Nevertheless, after thanking outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his ongoing promotion of the peace process, he emphasized the importance of renewing a push for the two-state solution, which is widely believed will lead to peace.

“The two-state solution is threatened due to settlements, as well as terrorists,” French President Francois Hollande said. “The two-state solution is the only solution that will bring peace and security.”

More than 1,000 demonstrators protested the summit outside the Israeli Embassy. The protesters, mostly Jewish, waved Israeli flags and said that the convention was meant to divide Jerusalem and damage Israel’s position, ultimately impacting Jews worldwide.

Netanyahu told the French President earlier in January that Israel would not attend the conference, but that he was open to meeting with Abbas “for direct talks without preconditions” if the summit had been canceled.

The majority of participants signed a declaration agreeing to enforce the two-state solution. A notable abstention was that of the UK, but the delegates who endorsed the result of the peace summit have agreed to meet again later in 2017 to show their support for the move and to take note of the progress of the freshly resurrected concept of the almost buried two-state solution.

Dee Catz

Israeli-born Dee Catz is a Jewish believer in Yeshua, happily married with children. She has an interest in cooking and baking and all things Biblical. History, Geography, and Archaeology are some of her favorite hobbies, as well as touring Israel's national parks and landmark sites with her family and friends. She has been contributing to Kehila News Israel since December 2015.

http://dev.kehila.org/person/deecatz/