Some reflections from an unapologetic Rip Roaring Zionist, an Urban Scavenger for the unexpected. Stephen Darori is a Finance and Marketing Whiz,Social Media Publicist, Strategist ,Investor. Journalist,Author, Editor Prolific Blogger.
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Sunday, January 22, 2017
#OyVeyDonaldTrump The End of The Obama Kerry/ Clinton Era ends in Failure as World Leaders meet in Paris for a last shot at forcing the Two State Solution on Israel and the PA ,(two reluctant participants) .
World leaders met in Paris on Sunday for a Middle East Peace Conference to negotiate a solution between Israelis and Palestinians. But the effort met with resistance from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and supporters of Israel.
PARIS — An effort by France to give impetus to the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process through an international conference always faced long odds. But with an incoming American president who has vowed to support Israel no matter what, the project seemed even more quixotic.
As senior representatives from 70 countries gathered in Paris on Sunday and endorsed anew a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, what they had to offer was mostly symbolic.
Still, that symbol was clear: Though peace efforts seemed doomed, the leaders, representing every European nation, were signaling that they still saw them as critical — and putting President-elect Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on notice that the process could be ignored only at their peril.
“The two-state solution, which the international community has agreed on for many years, appears threatened,” President François Hollande of France said as he opened the afternoon session. “It is physically threatened on the ground by the acceleration of settlements, it is politically threatened by the progressive weakening of the peace camp, it is morally threatened by the distrust that has accumulated between the parties, and that has certainly been exploited by extremists.”Continue reading the main story
France held the first session of the conference in June, after the United States and others effectively gave up. Talks had broken down, and Mr. Netanyahu’s government had drawn international anger with its continued settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a red line for the process set out years before by Secretary of State John Kerry and other leaders.
The idea was to prevent the peace process from disappearing entirely from the international agenda, which was dominated by Syria, Ukraine and Libya, among other hot spots.
At the end of Sunday’s meeting, the countries issued a joint communiqué that reaffirmed support for a two-state solution — a Palestinian state existing next to Israel — and a return to the 1967 boundaries between the Israelis and Palestinians, including the removal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank. The statement referenced United Nations resolutions to that effect, including the condemnation of Israel in December, which the Obama administration declined to block, over its continuing settlement of the West Bank.
Most of these goals now seem starkly remote. Israel has continued to follow an aggressive policy of creating “facts on the ground” through continued settlement of land claimed by the Palestinians. The Palestinian side, at the same time, is hobbled by a divided leadership, with one wing, led by the militant group Hamas, still refusing to recognize Israel at all.
Although the meeting was called a conference, it was always framed more as a series of diplomatic meetings, since so many people would be in the room that any real negotiations seemed unlikely.
However, with the Israelis dismissing the meeting as “rigged” and refusing to send representatives, and with the Palestinians absent as well, it seemed even shakier than before. Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, said last week that the conference was “like a wedding with neither bride nor groom.”
The Israelis were reluctant to participate because they want a negotiation that primarily involves only the two principal parties: Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have lost faith in bilateral talks and now prefer that any negotiation go on in an international forum, where they can have more leverage.
The Palestinians welcomed the conference’s final communiqué, and Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s secretary general, said in an emailed statement, “It is time to stop dealing with Israel as a country above the law and hold it accountable for its systematic violation of human rights and international law.”
In another sense, the meeting was also a last shot by a group of world leaders and diplomats who have driven the current peace process, fruitless though it has been, to preserve it in the face of major changes in the American delegation at the heart of the effort.
With Mr. Trump’s inauguration days away, his foreign policy is still mostly a matter of conjecture. But he has repeatedly signaled his displeasure with Mr. Obama’s approach toward Israel and the peace process.
Israeli officials clearly expect that the pressure to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians will ease once Mr. Trump is in office. Some seem to be counting the hours: After Mr. Trump’s election victory, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party in Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, exulted, “The era of a Palestinian state is over!”
While Mr. Trump has expressed a desire to make what he called the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians, his staff has also reached out to the organization that represents the West Bank settlers, the Yesha Council. The council received multiple invitations to Mr. Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to a spokesman for the umbrella organization. A delegation led by Oded Revivi, the chief foreign envoy of the council and mayor of a large settlement, will be attending.
Perhaps the clearest signs of a coming change from the Americans are Mr. Trump’s personnel announcements: David M. Friedman, his nominee for ambassador to Israel and a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with Israel’s far right, has been an avid supporter of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
In Israel, Mr. Netanyahu asserts that he still supports the principle of a Palestinian state — but on his terms, not those of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, whom many Israelis view as too weak to deliver. Mr. Netanyahu’s terms are unacceptable to the Palestinians, who are now looking to the United Nations and other international forums for intervention.
Despite the resigned expressions on the faces of many of the representatives as they left Sunday’s meeting — and Mr. Netanyahu’s declaration, according to Israeli news outlets, that the conference was the “final palpitations” of yesterday’s world — there has been no official death knell for a two-state solution. No one has yet put forward an alternative that seems likely to gain international support and ultimately offer both Israelis and Palestinians more safety. Still, there was a sense on Sunday that the conference was the close of an era of negotiations, centered around the two-state principle, that was driven by the Obama administration, and Mr. Kerry in particular.
In contrast with his previous rebukes of Mr. Netanyahu’s policies, Mr. Kerry’s role on Sunday was more conciliatory.
He worked to soften language in the final communiqué and to reassert the United States’ support for Israel. The United States lobbied for language condemning acts of “violence and terror and incitement,” a reference to Palestinian attacks inside Israel. And over the weekend, Mr. Kerry called Mr. Netanyahu to assure him that the United States would not support a United Nations resolution in the wake of the Paris meeting.