Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity

An Arab’s view of the Paris peace summit

A worthless and costly “peace” conference ended in Paris, and issued a joint declaration. Even the main organizer, the highly unpopular French President François Hollande, admitted at the conference that it was useless when he said, “the world cannot impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

I am an Arab, lucky enough to be one of the few Arabs who live far enough, both physically and intellectually, from Arab thugs to be able to speak my mind. So I will speak my mind.

Let’s start with the ludicrous title – the “Middle East” peace conference, as named in official French government communiqués. Do the organizers realize that Israelis and Palestinians represent only three percent of the population of the Middle East? And do they realize that there are other places in the Middle East in much more desperate need for peace than Israel and the Palestinians? Syria and Iraq come to mind – perhaps the attendees have heard of those places…

The summit represented mostly countries that have always been hostile to Israel’s very existence, yet it was somehow expected to help resolve the 69-year-old conflict. Besides the fact that these people, who did not include Israeli or Palestinian representatives, have no business deciding or even advising on the future of the conflict, the conference is not anchored in reality but in a parallel universe.

The conference’s main stated goal was to push for a two-state solution, yet there was no recognition of the fact that Israel has always accepted the concept of a two-state solution while Palestinian representatives never have.

There was no recognition of the fact that Israel is still willing, even under the most right-wing government in its history, to negotiate a two-state solution, but that the Palestinian Authority has for years offered the most preposterous excuses for refusing to negotiate.

There was no recognition of the fact that Palestinian society is badly divided, highly undemocratic, fueled by violence, and could not possibly run a peaceful government next to Israel.

There was no recognition of the fact that Palestinian and Arab authorities have been actively involved in widespread anti-Semitic hatred since before Israel declared its independence, and that this fact is the reason why the conflict started and why there is no Palestinian state.

I would like a Palestinian state to be created, but I also know that these issues are obstacles that stand in the way. They need to be addressed, not ignored. Wishy-washy statements like “the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution” will not do it. The communique did not even mention the main stumbling block of any two-state solution, which is the Palestinian insistence on flooding Israel with Palestinian refugees.

If any of the people at the conference were interested in creating a Palestinian state, they would stop playing games, and they would state these issues and discuss how to address them. But that would require courage and integrity. That would require that they place the interests of the Palestinians ahead of their own interests in maintaining good trade relations with countries that prefer to see no solution than to see a solution that enshrines the existence of a Jewish state.

Le Monde admitted that the conference was “symbolic”, but it failed to recognize what it was symbolic of. It was symbolic of politicians using politically correct language while being afraid to recognize the real issues.


I hope at least that the taxpayers of seventy countries, including my own country of Canada, were happy to pay millions of dollars for their politicians and diplomats to enjoy Paris. I was in Paris recently myself, and I took this picture from the beautiful Seine, but silly me, unlike those politicians and diplomats, I used my own money to travel.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to defend itself. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities co-exist in peace with each other, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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