Palestinians put hope in Paris conference as possible 'last chance' for two-states

The Palestinian leadership has lobbied vigorously for the conference for more than 18 months.

January 3, 2017 22:39
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and French President Francois Hollande, Paris September 19, 2014.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and French President Francois Hollande, Paris September 19, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

The international peace conference set to take place in Paris later this month could be the last chance to reach a historic compromise between the Israeli and Palestinian governments, a senior Abbas advisor said on Tuesday.

“The Paris conference could be the last opportunity to save the two-state solution,” Majdi al-Khalidi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s adviser for diplomatic affairs, told The Jerusalem Post. “If the current Israeli government refuses to work with the results of the conference, it may bear responsibility for the end of the two-state solution.”

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Foreign ministers and officials from some 77 countries and representatives of multiple international organizations are expected to descend on the French capital on January 15 to attempt to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The Palestinian leadership has lobbied vigorously for the conference for more than 18 months.

Meanwhile Israel has declined to participate in the conference, saying that it does not accept the Palestinian leadership’s attempt to internationalize the conflict and instead prefers direct, bilateral talks.

Khalidi, however, said that if Israel rejects the results of the conference, the Palestinian leadership will not give up on its aims.

“We will continue our efforts to convince the world and Israeli government to allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Khalidi stated.

Regarding the expected results of the conference, Khalidi said that the Palestinian leadership hopes the participating countries will create an international mechanism to resolve the conflict.

“We want the conference to create an international mechanism for the peace process, which includes a time frame for implementing an agreement with Israel,” Khalidi stated.

Palestinian leaders have said that they imagine an international mechanism would take a similar form to the P5+1 talks, in which the world powers concluded a nuclear deal with Iran in a set period of time.

Moreover, Khalidi said that the Palestinian leadership “wants the conference to reaffirm everything in the recent UN Security Council resolution.”

UN Security Council resolution 2334, which was passed on December 23, states that settlements “have no legal validity,” condemns terrorism and incitement, and calls for the establishment of two independent states.

While the Palestinian leadership has hailed the resolution as “historic,” Israeli officials have referred to it as “shameful.”

President Reuven Rivlin dismissed the conference Tuesday in a meeting with the president of the French Senate, Gerard Larcher, who met with him at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

“There are no shortcuts in the Middle East,” Rivlin said, referring to the planned conference.

Rivlin said Israel and the Palestinian leadership should instead work on building trust and restoring direct talks.

“The solution to the conflict requires two things; to build trust between the sides, and direct negotiations between the two sides,” he stated. “Without trust, no solution will work. Without negotiations, no solution can be reached.”

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