Laurent Fabius of France has a dream. A dream of a multi-national conference to resolve the 100-year-old dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has not rejected it yet but is not in favor of it. The French want Israel to make some concessions. What concessions are possible, pray tell, other than dismantling of some settlements? Even this would not resolve the problem.
The Palestinians declare that they will no longer engage in direct talks with the Israelis but a multi-national conference is something that they would approve.
Bibi wants to wait until the American presidential elections in November and his preference is an American-led conference rather than a French one.
But Bibi should be aware that two major candidates, Sanders and Trump, will not be easy to deal with.
Sanders, the Democrat, will not show particular favor to Israel because he doesn’t want his Jewishness to indicate partiality. And Trump, the Republican, will be the “boss.” He will make demands on Israel and will enforce them, something that no other American president has done.
Both of the two candidates are very popular with the American Jewish voting public.
We have dreamt of a peaceful solution for decades. Im lo achshav, aymatai? If not now, when?
But the truth is that now is not the time to engage with the Palestinians. First, the riots and killings must stop. The Palestinian Authority must punish its youth who go out “Jew-hunting”. Better a Palestinian punishment than a Jewish bullet.
Second, leaving settlements aside, what other concessions could Israel possibly make? No return of 1948 refugees. No division of Jerusalem. What else is left for consideration? For the Palestinians, the answer is simple. The elimination of the Jewish State of Israel. Nothing less will please them.
Paris may be lovely in the springtime, but if Bibi decides to go to the French-initiated conference, will it be a dream or a nightmare for Israel?
Perhaps he should remind Fabius of the old French proverb. “Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent la meme”…. The more things change, the more they remain the same.