Time has come for all to act on Pales­tine

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

Lence AST Fri­day’s Paris con­fer

on re­viv­ing talks be tween Pales­tine and Is­rael played a valu­able role in re­mind­ing the international com­mu­nity that time is pass­ing and any re­mote hope of find­ing a way to im­ple­ment the two-state solution is be­com­ing steadily less likely as Is­rael con­tin­ues to in­crease the num­ber of colonists in Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory and con­tin­ues to in­crease its grip on the Oc­cu­pied Ter­ri­to­ries. There is no hope that Pales­tine and the cur­rent rightwing govern­ment in Is­rael will re­open di­rect talks on their own, so it is in­cum­bent on the international com­mu­nity to pres­sure Is­rael to re­turn to the ta­ble.

The con­fer­ence was hosted by the French but at­tended and sup­ported by diplo­mats from all over the world, in­clud­ing for­eign min­is­ters from the US, the Euro­pean Union and UN Secretary-Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Arab na­tions. It was im­por­tant that US Secretary of State John Kerry was present be­cause only the US has enough in­flu­ence to put pres­sure on the Is­raelis. The Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans were not part of the talks, which ended by moot­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of an international con­fer­ence based on the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive by the end of this year. Is­rael had op­posed the French ini­tia­tive from the start, but dis­missed the con­fer­ence as a “missed op­por­tu­nity”, ar­gu­ing that Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas should start di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ne­tanyahu with no pre­con­di­tions. Ab­bas says there is no point go­ing back to talks with­out ground rules and a time­line for a deal, and the Pales­tini­ans point out that dur­ing 20 years of di­rect bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions Is­rael has vi­o­lated all the signed agree­ments, and the num­ber of il­le­gal Is­raeli colonists in the Oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian Ter­ri­to­ries has grown from 200,000 to over 600,000. So rather than bi­lat­eral talks that al­low the Is­raelis to con­tinue their bluff that they want them to work, the Pales­tini­ans sup­ported the Paris talks and its fo­cus on the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive as a way to find a gen­uine mech­a­nism to com­pletely end the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion with international pres­sure on the Is­raelis to bring them into line. —Gul News

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