Arab League chief claims Kerry thwarted strong French initiative

Kerry was "definitely not enthusiastic" about the June 3 Paris summit, he said and added that the American administration did not play a proactive role in the summit.

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June 6, 2016 22:48
2 minute read.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federic

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (C) and South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (R) arrive for a family photo during an international and interministerial meeting in a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian . (photo credit: SAUL LOEB / AFP)

 
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US Secretary of State John Kerry prevented France from successfully launching a strong new peace initiative last week that could have impacted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said on Monday.

Kerry was "definitely not enthusiastic" about the June 3 Paris summit, he said and added that the American administration did not play a proactive role in the summit.

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The summit, which brought together representatives from 29 countries and international entities such as the UN, was expected to issue a strong statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When the summit convened it had hoped to have in its hand a much touted Quartet report about about the conflict. But disagreement over the language in the report, including US objectives, delayed its publication and it has yet to be issued.

Delegates at the summit had hoped to use the report to create a blue-print for creating a two-state solution This includes a fall peace conference to set the climate for renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been frozen since April 2014.

The summit was expected to end with a firm communique with a time line for the creation of a two-state solution and or information about UN Security Council resolution to set parameter for resolving the conflict. Instead, it published a fairly boiler plate statement.

According to Arabi, Kerry prevented the summit from issuing a concluding communique with stronger recommendations regarding the time limits of any future peace talks and the UN resolutions such talks will be based on.

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Neither the Israelis or the Palestinians were invited to the summit.

The Palestinians have welcomed the French led internationalized process because they have come to believe that direct talks with Israel on their own, are futile.

Israel fears an internationalized process would dictate the terms of a final status agreement and allow Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations.

On Monday Bayit HaYehudi politicians discussed the French initiative with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro during their weekly faction meeting. Shapiro routinely meets with Israeli political parties.

According to attendees at the closed-door meeting, Shapiro responded that the US opposes unilateral steps and would veto any attempt to force a solution on Israel.

The Bayit HaYehudi has been outspoken about their opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, even though they sit in the government that support a process to create one.

"I told him it would be good if they would not be stupid like they were with [US secretary of State John] Kerry's mistakes in his policies about Egypt, the Ukraine, and other places," MK Moti Yogev said. "The two state idea is a nice slogan, but it will bring neither stability, nor security to our region,” Yogev said.

MK Bezalel Smotrich said he told the ambassador that he believes most Israelis oppose a Palestinian state and that he should respect the majority. He said he presented Shapiro with other potential diplomatic solutions, such as full annexation of Area C of the West Bank, giving the Palestinians, autonomy, and encouraging them to move to another country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he supports the creation of a Palestinian state but that such a state must be demilitarized and recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

He has repeatedly called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to hold talks to reach a final status agreement to end the conflict.

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