After all these years of aborted negotiations and violent periods between Israelis and Palestinians, we welcome favorably all initiatives aiming to advance the search for a solution to the conflict. This is why we support the French initiative to gather for the second time in Paris, on January 15th, an international conference on the Middle East, in the presence and with the support of official representatives of 70 countries, including many Foreign Affairs Ministers.
The absence on the previous session, last June, of Israeli and Palestinian representatives was perhaps a necessary step in the initial stage, in order to allow the different committees to achieve more progress, in view of the level of distrust prevailing between them, and of their inability to accept the compromises necessary for a solution. They won’t attend the next meeting either, which is very unfortunate, since it is obvious for everyone, and especially for the organizers, that it will be difficult to progress in the absence of the main parties concerned, who are the only ones able to solve the conflict.
Negotiations have been conducted for so long now that the parameters of a solution are well known. This conference will at least try to formalize them so that they can be used later on as a reference framework for future negotiators. It will also define the international commitment in order to accompany the protagonists in a long and complicated process. This commitment will have, as we know, economic and security implications that will probably be essential in order to allow Israelis and Palestinians to finally wager on peace after wagering so often on war.
It is in the interest of Israel, and in the interest of the future Palestine, to put an end to a statu quo that is slowly compromising the Two State Solution and initiates among both populations a despair fuelling extremists on all sides.
In many conflicts, the international community has too often been remarkable by its absence and its lack of political will. How could we blame it for such an initiative supported by nations which are allies and friends of Israel ? Let us give all the chances to this conference.