The Reuters headline read: “Netanyahu Dismisses French Proposal for International Peace Conference on Palestinian Statehood”. Very pragmatic and very blunt.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is the “father” of the proposed Conference and has stated that if Israel rejects it, France will immediately recognize a Palestinian state. Bibi does not like threats.
Fabius’s words did not fall on deaf ears. In Israel, Bibi called the Conference “baffling” and bound for definite failure. Not exactly encouraging words for the French and E.U. nations who are making efforts to find an acceptable solution to the 100 year old problem.
In discussing the proposed Conference both the United States and the European Union were harshly critical of Israel about the West Bank growing settlements, considered illegal, not recognized, and a violation of previous Israeli agreements.
But what does Bibi have to fear? A trip to Paris is always a delight, the food is divine and the wine flows like the river Seine. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Predictably, the Conference will end in failure because the two main participants, Netanyahu and Abu Mazen (Abbas) do not speak together panim el panim…face to face.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister recently announced that the Palestinians would never again meet with the Israelis in direct talks.
At a Paris Conference, they would not have to. There will be a plethora of diplomats from many nations who will convey the remarks of each to the other.
It is probable that the Paris Conference, like several other conferences over the years, will not produce a success. It is probable it will end in failure. And the reason is perfectly clear.
I am convinced that our Prime Minister, who studied at the feet of his illustrious father, the brilliant historian BenZion Netanyahu, will steadfastly tread the right-wing path in favor of expanding settlements, thereby preventing the Palestinians the land they require for their dreamed of state.
Bibi has abandoned the principles of Jabotinsky and Begin. Were they alive and in our government today, a just solution could be quickly found.
Our right-wing faction is fractured, each member of the Likud anxious to hold on to his seat in the Knesset more than finding an acceptable solution.
As for the Arabs, there is no desire for any agreement with Israel. They want not only Jerusalem but also Jaffa, Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and other Israeli cities of mixed Arab-Jewish populations. In short, the Arabs want all the State of Israel, urging its citizens to return to the mostly hated lands of their origin.
Although no pre-conditions are acceptable to either of the parties, there are two factors which Israel can never accept and will remain the major problem for a thousand years to come.
They are primarily two NO’s.
NO to the return of Arab refugees from the 1948 war. NO division of Jerusalem ever again. It will forever remain the eternal capitol of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Arabs can continue living in Jerusalem neighborhoods but they will always continue to earn their rights of health care and education as citizens of the State of Israel.
Bibi must cease to be “baffled”. A rejection to participate in the French proposed Conference will lower Israel’s esteem in the eyes of the nations of the world.
They will accuse Israel of truly not wanting peace, not wanting a two-state solution, and pointing to the growth of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Israel will be declared the monstrous aggressor who rules over 48 years of an “occupied” people.
Yes, the Paris Conference may lead nowhere but in order to show good faith, Bibi must make the effort to accept the French proposal by personally attending the Conference.
If it should fail, as it very well might, at least our Prime Minister can save face by stating that he attended out of goodwill and the hope for a resolution.
By attending, Bibi’s baffle may reveal a shining new light in an arena of darkness.