Asia

The Arab League supports the French Initiative for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Arab League nations vote in favour of the French proposal for peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine

April 15th, 2016
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In the presence of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Foreign Affairs Ministers of Arab League nations gathered in Cairo on May 28th for an extraordinary meeting. A  resolution was passed supporting the French initiative intended to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The plan is to hold an international conference in Paris in the autumn of 2016, in which the global situation of the Middle East is to be discussed.

Bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestine have been unable to progress in the last few years and the curent statu-quo risks giving rise to further violence. Thus France is calling for the remobilisation of the international community on the matter in an international conférence. This conference would involve Palestinian, Israeli and other key international actors and focus on the ‘two states’ solution. Leaders from around twenty influential countries and international organisations will meet in the next weeks to establish the ground rules of the conference. This meeting will take place without either Israel or Palestine in order to prevent the possibility of negotiations ending before they even begin.

The agreement of the Arab League is a victory for the French proposal, however there are still numerous obstacles to overcome. Indeed, even if the Arab League has agreed to resume negotiations, its President (Nail Al-Arabi) also stated that Israel is the ‘last bastion of fascism, colonialism and racial discrimination’. The current situation between Israel and Palestine is also complicated. During the visit of the French Prime Minister (Manuel Valls) to Israel, the Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Nétanyahou) was reticent to the idea of an international conference. He stated that he would instead prefer to proceed with bilateral negotiations, a proposition that was rejected by Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians believe further bilateral negotiations to be futile, as they do not trust Israel to fulfill its commitments.

The lack of trust between Israel and Palestine is going to make the organisation of the international conference a tremendously difficult task for Paris and the international community.

References:

Cultural Diplomacy News
Pierre Even, CD News