Time has come for all to act on Palestine
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