Published: Tue, January 17, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Foreign Ministry chief chalks up Paris conference as win for Israel

When the world focuses on issues such as the wars in Syria and Iraq, an worldwide conference in Paris emphasized that there will be no peace in the Middle East without solving the old conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Sunday's Mideast peace conference in Paris concluded that the "two-state solution" is the only way forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned both sides against taking any independent action, reiterating the long-standing global position on the issue.

The American Jewish Congress stands opposed to the Paris Peace Conference led by France on January 15th and the possibility of any further untoward one-sided and anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council meeting set two days later on January 17th.

In addition, he said the conference's declaration affirms Israel's view that "the only way to arrive at peace is by means of direct negations between the sides".

Britain was the only European Union country to break ranks in the French capital as it criticized the gathering - without Israel and the Palestinians and days before a new United States administration under President-elect Donald Trump- and refused to sign the joint statement.

The conference's closing statement called on both sides to avoid "unilateral steps" and stressed that the basis for negotiations should be should be the 1967 borders, before Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attended the conference.

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Commenting as he opened a Palestinian embassy at the Vatican, Abbas added that anything which legitimised the "illegal Israeli annexation" of Jerusalem would "bury the hopes for a two-state solution, and fuel extremism in our region". There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace.

It also commended outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry's speech two weeks ago laying out principles for negotiations to resolve the seven-decade-old conflict. Until then, the United States should maintain the status quo and oppose resolutions against Israel by worldwide bodies, rather than turning their back on years of foreign policy.

"We can not say anything yet because it has not happened, but if this does happen it will not help the peace process".

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon echoed the prime minister's message, saying that he plans to "work with the incoming USA administration to undo the damage caused by the [recent United Nations] Security Council resolution [against Israeli settlements] and these other one-sided initiatives".

Speaking briefly to reporters, Abbas reiterated his opposition to the possible transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as President-elect Donald Trump had indicated he might do.

According to Erekat, a former Palestinian peace negotiator, participants "created a momentum" in rejecting "Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise".

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