[Published 22 April 2016]
The announcement by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that France will host a meeting of ministers from 20 countries in Paris on May 30 to try and relaunch the Israel-Palestinian peace process seems to be yet another flight of fancy that is destined to end up where the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap presently find themselves after decades of fruitless negotiations.
Who those 20 countries are that will attend such a meeting will make fascinating reading.
The other 173 member States of the United Nations should be miffed at not being invited to enjoy the sights, sounds, food and wine of Paris as it seeks to put behind it:
1. The devastating Islamic terrorist attack on 13 November last that claimed the lives of 130 people and wounded 352 others.Ayrault said the conference aimed to prepare an international summit in the second half of 2016 which would include the Israeli and Palestinian leaders — acknowledging that:
2. The assault on a police station on 7 January last by a jihadist wearing a fake explosive belt attacking police officers with a meat cleaver while shouting “Allahu Akbar”. He was shot dead and one policeman was injured. The ISIS flag and a clearly written claim in Arabic, were found on the attacker.
“The two sides are further apart than ever,”He then proceeded to issue this mantra that has almost become commonplace in trying to end the Jewish-Arab conflict:
“There is no other solution to the conflict than establishing two states, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, living side by side in peace and safety with Jerusalem as a shared capital.”Really?
The French Foreign Minister needs to understand there are other solutions - one involving the allocation of sovereignty of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) between Jordan and Israel — the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine — who have since 1946 and 1948 respectively enjoyed sovereignty in 95% of the territory once called “Palestine”.
Ayrault has reportedly said the discussions would be based on the 2002 Saudi peace initiative — approved by the Arab League but not Israel.
That decision in itself will guarantee the failure of the French initiative.
There is no mood in Israel to commit national suicide — which the Arab peace initiative unashamedly seeks.
Ayrault adopts an air of typical Gallic condescension as he intones:
“We have to explain to the Israelis that settlement activity is a dangerous process and that it puts their own security in danger.”
Maybe the newly-appointed Foreign Minister should look at the rapidly expanding Islamic settlement activity taking place in France and address that threat to France’s security before he seeks to interfere in Israel’s affairs.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who brokered a previous round of Israel-Palestinian peace talks that collapsed in April 2014 gave the French proposal a guarded welcome when he visited Paris in March:
“Not any one country or one person can resolve this. This is going to require the global community,it will require international support,”Kerry is right but at the same time he is wrong.
What Kerry and President Obama continue to fail to acknowledge are the firm written commitments made to Israel by former President George Bush on 14 April 2004 —overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress.
Were Obama and Kerry prepared to rally the global community to get behind the Bush-Congress commitments and take Abbas dragging and screaming to the negotiating table —maybe some movement towards a resolution of the conflict could eventuate.
Pushing the 2002 Arab Initiative whilst ignoring the 2004 Bush-Congress Initiative is destined to become an exercise in futility and certain failure.