Paris peace conference: Renewing hope for two-state solution
12 January 2017
Paris peace conference: Renewing hope for a two-state solution
On January 15, 2017, 70 foreign ministers and United Nations organisations will gather in Paris for an international peace conference aimed at resuscitating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the two-state solution.
The conference will allow participants to reaffirm their commitment to the two-state solution and aims to spark a resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel.
This French initiative began with an international peace conference in Paris on June 3, 2016. However, the initial conference produced few concrete measures to be taken, which should be addressed on January 15.
The idea for the conference was a double-track approach—first a conference and then a separate meeting with the Palestinians and Israelis to present them with the resulting recommendations. However, unfortunately the Israelis have decided to boycott the conference, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labelling it “aimless” and “futile”.
Despite Israeli rejection of the conference, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with French President François Hollande the day after, on January 16, to discuss its outcomes and recommendations. Israel’s rejection cannot undermine the political significance of the conference for the Palestinians. Saeb Erekat, secretary- general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) described it as “the flicker of hope Palestine has been waiting for.” Palestinians “are confident that it will provide a clear framework with defined parameters for the resumption of negotiations.”
The conference represents a serious paradigm shift from bilateral to multilateral negotiations, which could prove more successful in achieving peace. Palestinians expect to see a commitment by participants to the implementation of United Nations (UN) resolutions, especially Security Council resolution 2334, and the creation of a mechanism and timeframe for ending Israel’s occupation.