Israel-Palestine: from Paris a renewed commitment to peace and two States

Over 70 countries, including the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Arab League attended the meeting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas absent. The final communique result of long negotiations between the parties. No direct reference to unresolved issues, including the status of Jerusalem and the US embassy move.


Paris (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An appeal to Israel and Palestine to renew their "commitment" to a peace agreement in the Middle East "in view of the two states" solution and an invitation to both countries to "avoid" unilateral actions, they can "affect" the outcome of negotiations. With attention to three particular elements: borders, the status of Jerusalem and the issue concerning refugees. This is, in summary, the contents of the final communiqué issued at the end of the international conference on peace in the Middle East, which was held yesterday in Paris, France, on the initiative of President Francois Hollande.

The meeting was attended by leaders of over 70 countries, including the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the leaders of the Arab League. At the conclusion of those present, except for the United Kingdom, signed the joint statement.

London expressed "strong reservations" about a peace conference organized a few days from the change in US leadership [the oath of Donald Trump is scheduled on January 20] and at which, among other things, the stakeholders were not even present. Indeed the absence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen from the Parisian meeting stood out.

The final document of the Conference was the subject of lengthy negotiations between the parties. In the end the line of not addressing the details of the problems prevailed, instead referring only to the outstanding issues and guidelines to address and resolve them. In particular, there were no direct references to the construction of new settlements by Israel in the Palestinian territory.

Another central issue that was not addressed was the decision of neo US President Trump to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A move that has met the appreciation of the leaders of Israel and sparked strong protests among Palestinians.

On the eve of the conference (an initiative appreciated by the Palestinians), Netanyahu spoke of a "useless" meeting agreed by Palestinian and French "trying to impose conditions that are irreconcilable with the national interests on Israel." He spoke of a meeting that "reflects the last gasps of yesterday’s world," and tomorrow "will have another look." A reference, not too veiled, to the change of leadership in Washington.

For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the international meeting in Paris, which "reaffirms the principles of law and international resolutions" for the birth of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital.

The conference in the French capital comes at a time of high tensions between Israel and Palestine, which has repeatedly resulted in serious incidents of violence sparked by last month’s UN resolution - approved by the outgoing US administration - which denounced the expansion of settlements activities promoted by Israel.