While the Paris
Peace Piece Conference’s aims were ostensibly to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it was quite clear from the start that its only intention was to make Israel give up a piece of this and a piece of that (hence my title) in order to weaken it if not destroy it altogether.
The predictions, the declarations – both for and against – and the outcome, were precisely as expected. Binyamin Netanyahu panned the pointless parley as rigged: while the Palestinians of course welcomed it:
“The conference that is convening today in Paris is a pointless conference,” he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“It was coordinated by the French and the Palestinians and aims to force conditions on Israel that conflict with our national interests,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu has previously claimed the talks were “rigged” against the Jewish state, insisting that direct bilateral talks between Jerusalem and Ramallah was the only way to negotiate a peace agreement.
At the Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reiterated his position that the Paris-sponsored initiative makes the prospect of peace more as it “hardens Palestinians conditions and keeps them from direct negotiations.”
“I have to say that this conference is among the last remnants of the world of yesterday,” Netanyahu said. “Tomorrow will look different, and that tomorrow is very close.”
Unlike Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the bid to reaffirm global support for a two-state solution, and will meet French President Francois Hollande in the coming weeks to be briefed on the conference outcome, diplomats said last week.
Paris officials said that Netanyahu declined a similar invitation.
Likud MK and Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara described the conference in a perfectly snarky way:
The Paris Conference is an old age home collecting politicians on their way to their retirement from a political career as they step off the stage.
Europe needs to understand that Israel is a strong country that will not tolerate diktats.
Despite Israeli fears that the conference would lend backing to UNSC Resolution 2334, Israeli officials cheered the weakened declaration that ultimately issued forth:
Israeli officials on Sunday credited the efforts of the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry for a “significant weakening” of the text of the final joint declaration issued by the participants of a peace conference in Paris.
The one-day summit came to a close on Sunday evening with a statement, backed by the 70 countries, calling on Israel and the Palestinians to restate their commitment to a peace settlement and to refrain from unilateral actions.
The statement urged both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” and disassociate from voices that reject that goal. It also called for them not to take one-sided actions that could preclude fruitful talks.
The Israeli officials were jubilant that “problematic passages” in a contentious recent UN Security Council resolution on the settlements were not included in the Paris document. Resolution 2334, passed on December 23, harshly condemned the settlement enterprise, declaring that it has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Furthermore, the Israeli officials expressed satisfaction over the fact that no further action against Israeli settlements is planned at the Security Council. US Secretary of State John Kerry had promised as much to Prime Minister Netanyahu in a phone call from Paris earlier Sunday.
The ostensible success, the officials concluded, was the “result of harsh reactions” voiced by Israel against Resolution 2334.
Wrapping up the conference, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters that the purpose of the meet was to convey a sense of urgency about the threat to the two-state solution.
The Elder of Ziyon quibbles with the Israeli jubilation, saying that while the declaration was better than the original draft, it is not much better:
The good part is that the paragraph about the June 1967 lines being sacrosanct is gone, along with the call to essentially boycott any Israeli person or entity beyond the Green Line. That is probably what Israel is happy about.
The bad part is that they took out the language saying that “solutions cannot be imposed” on the parties along with one of the two mentions insisting on direct negotiations. Also the follow-up conference added in the statement will again be more one-sided pressure on Israel.
So it is somewhat better than the draft but not a whole hell of a lot.
Interestingly, in another show of support for Israel, Britain questioned the purpose and the timing of the conference, and sent only a low-level representative to the conference:
Prime Minister Theresa May sent neither her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, nor her envoy to France to the parlay. Britain instead had observer status at the conference.
“We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them– indeed, which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis– and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement,” a Foreign Office statement read.
For some more commentary on the conference, The Elder of Ziyon links to a series of very interesting related articles.
The Jerusalem Post’s editorial “No tango in Paris” states:
Conferences in Paris will not bring peace. That will only come from negotiations. For peace to happen, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs to first come to Jerusalem and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is that Abbas is a known rejectionist. He rejected the peace deal offered to him by Ehud Olmert in 2008 and has since remained intransigent in his refusal to even meet Netanyahu.
While France might be sincere in its desire to see peace come to the Middle East, holding a conference is misguided. Unfortunately, the more the international community supports Abbas’s unilateral diplomatic delegitimization campaign, the more stubborn he will become in his refusal to sit down for real and sincere negotiations.
Our suggestion – cancel the meeting in Paris.
Unfortunately, that – they didn’t.
Since the conference participants were so concerned with international law, Brian of London at Israellycool recalled an earlier article that he had written in which he reveals that the conference actually ignores French law:
Quoting here from Israellycool:
Today in France 70 nations will come together in Paris and blindly ignore the legal ruling of a highly significant French court (Court of Appeal of Versailles) just a few years ago. They will most likely issue a statement which creates the impression that Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria are illegal.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that there hasn’t been a proper legal case to decide the legality of Jews living in the lands captured back from Jordan in ’67, specifically Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. I was wrong! There was exactly such a case and, even though I’ve written about it, it has received almost no attention and been buried.
As we first reported here on Israellycool last week, a French court has confirmed some aspects of the legal situation regarding Israel and the hills of Judea and Samaria, especially around Jerusalem.
Now the larger news outlets have had time to think about this and get the opinion of greater legal minds than this humble blogger.
And the answer seems to be, it is a victory, but only if you didn’t know anything about international law and the specifics of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.
Well I’d say that’s just about everyone on earth and doubly so for everyone who is deluded by BDS campaign lies!
Exactly as I noted then, the legacy media completely ignored this ruling or downplayed it because it didn’t fit their lethal narrative: Jews are illegal settlers in what was once their own land. Nobody in the hostile legacy media has referred to it since (try to google for it).
Jean-Patrick Grumberg (the original reporter I linked to back in 2013 on the story) has now re-published a more detailed account of the technicalities of the case which related to the building, in Jerusalem, of the light rail system which connects both predominantly Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods to the centre of Jerusalem.
This is how Jean-Patrick concludes his post (which also includes the entire court decision in French).
The Court of Appeal therefore sentenced the PLO (and Association France Palestine Solidarité AFPS who was co-appellant) to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) to Alstom, 30,000 euros to Alstom Transport and 30,000 euros to Veolia Transport.
Neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority nor the AFPS appealed to the Supreme Court, therefore the judgment has become final.
This is the first time that a Court has legally destroyed all Palestinian legal claim that Israel’s occupation is illegal.
But don’t bother trying to confuse the “experts” with facts. Their minds are closed to any arguments that contradict their received wisdom.
In a similar fashion NGO Monitor exposes how the French are funding NGOs that sponsor BDS campaigns and which have ties to terror groups
An international peace summit, spearheaded by the French government, will be held on January 15, 2017, in Paris. In this report, NGO Monitor documents French government support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and with alleged ties to terror groups. This type of financial support casts doubts on the ability of France to serve as an impartial host of a summit dedicated to peace.
The best part of the whole shindig? The support that Israel received outside of the conference. Col. Richard Kemp was at a rally of support, and you can watch him being interviewed on Israeli i24TV:
The demonstration of support for Israel itself, held outside the conference venue drew hundreds of people:
PARIS – Hundreds of people rallied in support of Israel outside of the Jewish state’s embassy in Paris on Sunday as foreign ministers from dozens of nations gathered for a Middle East peace parley in the French capital.
Among those present at the demonstration were Israeli and Jewish leaders, including Israel’s ambassador to France and the president of the French-Jewish umbrella organization CRIF.
CRIF President Francis Kalifat told The Jerusalem Post that upon learning of the scheduling of the Paris summit, “we scheduled our own rally, in support of Israel and in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
“More than that, we are here today to express our objection to the Paris Middle East Conference, which we consider an anti-Israeli tribunal, similar to the negative decisions adopted by UNESCO and the UNSC [United Nations Security Council],” he said.
Rally attendee Jean B., 25, said that “we are here today to tell our own president that Israel has already reached out to the Palestinians in peace. The Palestinians are trying to internationalize the conflict, instead of accepting Israel’s hand and begin unconditional talks.”
Another participant at the demonstration, identified as Elisabeth, a student at the Sorbonne, told the Post that “we are hoping that our leaders will hear an outcry and listen to it. I know that France wants to advance peace, but they are going about it the wrong way.”
Kol hakavod to all the attendees and supporters of Israel.
But seriously, as the British noted, what was the point of the whole exercise? I’ll give the last word to Prof. Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor: