Israel works to tone down anti-Israel resolutions in Paris peace conference

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, senior Foreign Ministry officials, Israeli ambassadors abroad, and senior National Security Council officials are working at the diplomatic level in an effort to tone down any anti-Israel draft resolutions that are liable to be passed in two days at the international peace conference in Paris, which will be attended by representatives of more than 75 countries, including all the members of the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the Arab League. During a meeting yesterday between Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the Israeli leader accused the Palestinian leadership of leading the international conference in Paris with French auspices to advance and adopt additional anti-Israel states, and reality Netanyahu said was pushing peace backwards. Palestinian deputy Foreign Minister responded to the allegations by saying that the Palestinian leadership was working together with their French counterparts for, what he defined as “effective results”.

“The Palestinian leadership is working with the French leadership for effective results. President Mahmoud Abbas will be in Paris during the time of the conference because as you know, the Palestinian side and the Israeli side are not invited because the Israeli side rejected participation in this conference. We were ready, as the Palestinian side, to participate. But the president will be going with a large delegation. Yesterday he received an invitation from the French President, he will be in Paris, and the French President will speak to him about the results of this conference and the next steps will be coordinated,” said Tayseer Jaradat, Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, during a joint press conference with Prime minister Netanyahu, said the international conference was an effort to try and intimidate the Jewish state with regard to demand international concessions, a reality that the top Israeli defense official warned, would only contribute to regional instability and would hamper a political process. “If someone thinks that with intimidation, pressure or an international conference, he can change reality here, he is mistaken. Instead of sitting down to talk with us, these intimidation attempts, incitement attempts, really make a negative contribution to regional stability and political process,” said Lieberman.

Israel maintains that only through direct negotiations a viable solution to the decades old conflict between the Palestinians and the Jewish state could be achieved. The position has prompted Jerusalem to reject the international conference, which it said would seek to dictate terms. In response to the Israeli concerns, however, French President Francois Hollande said that the planned conference in Paris would not aim to replace bilateral negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.  “Peace will be achieved by the Israelis and the Palestinians, and by no-one else. Only bilateral relations can bring it about. Sunday’s meeting must remind us of the determination to support a two-state solution. And, it must move forward concrete solutions to develop infrastructures,” said Hollande.

France, which has repeatedly tried to breathe new life into the peace process since the United States has pulled back from its efforts to do so, believes that through an international framework, a foundation can be set for a political process that would establish the guidelines for direct negotiations.