Paris Peace Conference A Ceremonial Rather Than A Decisive Conference

Paris Peace Conference was doomed from the beginning. Israel rejected the conference from the beginning and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even called the meeting as a “rigged conference,” the results of which his country would not be bound to follow.

Netanyahu said, “It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.”

He added, “It’s not going to obligate us. It’s a relic of the past, it’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

Both the Israelis and Palestinians didn’t take part in the main gathering.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been invited to come to France after the conference to be informed of its conclusions.

However, Netanyahu has declined the invitation. Abbas said that he will meet his French counterpart Francois Hollande later to be briefed on the proceedings, according to Palestinian officials.

In his statement at Paris Peace Conference, Sameh Shoukry stated that not reaching a solution to the Palestinian conflict is a key reason behind all the upheaval in the Middle East, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

During his speech at the Middle East peace conference in the French capital of Paris, Shoukry said that the unsolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict will hinder the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East.

He also added that the conference that brought about 70 countries and international organizations together is not aimed at making decisions on behalf of the Palestinian or Israeli sides, but rather to stress the importance of seeking a settlement to the dispute and providing a suitable atmosphere for reviving peace negotiations.

In fact, it wasn’t expected that Egypt, which delayed a UN Security Council vote on the Israeli settlements last December, would play an active role during the peace conference.

It is worth to mention that the Egyptian-Israeli relations have flourished over the past three years.

Since the military coup led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi against the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, the relation between the al-Sisi regime and Israel has developed on the security and intelligence levels in Sinai Peninsula.

Moreover, al-Sisi regime is working on enhancing intimate diplomatic relation to open the way for full normalization. In his latest speech during the official inauguration of the Asyuit power plant, al-Sisi promised Israel “warmer” peace adding that Egypt is ready to mediate to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The latest visit by Egypt’s FM  Sameh Shoukry to Israel, which was the first state visit for an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years, yet it looked like the meeting of old friends and partners.They watched football together, exaggeratedly exchanged pleasantries, and met in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.

In the same context, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry considered Israel practices against Palestinians within the context of “security” rather than “aggression” during a meeting with High School top students at the foreign ministry headquarters last August.

At that time , Shoukry’s statement on the Israeli policies was reported by the Israeli media as a move from the Egyptian Foreign Minister for defending Israel. “Egypt FM Defends Israel, Says Policies not Terrorism”, said the Times of Israel news heading on Shoukry’s comments.

In addition, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi renewed his promise to fulfill warm peace to Israel if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was resolved during speaking to U.N. General Assembly last September, Al-Sisi described the Israel-Egypt model as “a real opportunity to write a bright page in the history of our region to move towards peace.

In the end, Paris Peace Conference, which was called for by France in June 2016 and attended by representatives of 70 countries to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian issue was rather ceremonial than a deceive one in reaching a peace agreement that resolves one of the most complicated crises in the Middle East history.

The joint statement issued at the end of the meeting failed to strongly condemn the settlement activities in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, which is the most contentious issue.

The conference has even failed to employ the same strong language of UN Security Council resolution 2334 which terms east Jerusalem as an “occupied territory.”

Moreover, it was expected that some 70 countries and international organizations, including the foreign ministers of more than 30 states attending the conference will use it as a starting point for another resolution at the UN to urge both sides to resume peace talks,but the conference did not press for another resolution at the Security Council.

This was considered as a major diplomatic victory for Netanyahu after the humiliation due to the resolution against settlement activity.

The final statement also “stopped short” of rejecting Donald Trump’s announcement to shift the United States of America’s embassy to Jerusalem although there is growing consensus that any such move would badly lead to the collapse of any prospects of peace in the Middle East and French president also mentioned it.

Paris Peace Conference only “positive lining” was the broad support of delegates for the two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.

They also urged for negotiations to settle all issues. However, none of the parties to the conflict will be obliged to follow the statement in the absence of a UN resolution calling for the resumption of peace talks.