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PA Welcomes Paris Summit Concluding Statement, Calls on France to Recognize Palestine

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Pro-Israel demonstrators gather in front of Israel embassy in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017.
Pro-Israel demonstrators gather in front of Israel embassy in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. Credit: Francois Mori/AP

Britain has 'reservations' about Paris peace conference hardening positions

Britain said on Sunday it had reservations about the outcome of a Middle East peace conference in Paris, saying it risked "hardening positions"..

"We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them - indeed which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis - and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the U.S. will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement," a Foreign Office statement said.

"There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace."

Britain had observer status at the conference. It did not back the final communique by 70 countries, which reaffirmed that only a two-state solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned they would not recognize any unilateral steps by either side that could prejudge negotiations.

Saeb Erekat: Palestinians welcome Paris conference concluding statement

Senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat issued a statement saying the PA "welcomed the statement by the Paris Middle East Peace conference and call upon France to recognize the State of Palestine."

"We welcome today's Statement by the Paris Middle East Peace meeting, which stressed the need to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 as per international legitimacy and international law; including the recent Security Council Resolution 2334," the statement continued.

"We appreciate the participation of each and every country and their commitment to the right of our people to establish our independent sovereign state to live side-by-side in peace and security alongside Israel. They have again created a momentum in rejection to the Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise on the land of Palestine.

"It's a message to Israel, the occupying power, to abide by international law and international humanitarian law and to end its military occupation of Palestine towards the achievement of peace and stability in the region and the world. It is time to stop dealing with Israel as a country above the law and to hold it accountable for its systematic violations of international law and the rights of our people," Erekat said,

"We call upon France to immediately recognize the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We also call upon all participating countries in today's conference, including European countries and the United States of America, which all have continuously supported the importance of the two-state solution as the only viable solution, to recognize Palestine in line with their recognition of Israel and their strong position to preserve the two-state solution."

French FM: We want to help Israelis and Palestinians help themselves

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirmed the world's commitment to the two-state solution at the conclusion of the Paris peace conference, saying a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements and a subsequent speech by John Kerry "represented the voice of the world" on these issues.

"There is a unity in the international community regarding the two-state solution," Ayrault said. He also said participating nations were unanimous in condemning last week's terror attack in Jerusalem as well as ongoing incitement to violence by Palestinians.

"We are in favor of direct negotiations between the parties, but we want to see how we can help them help themselves.

"We know the incentives will not bring the parties back to the table tomorrow morning, but it can help," he said.

In a message to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Ayrault said that "We hope this conference convinces the new U.S. administration that the whole world wants peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

Kerry tells Netanyahu: Paris summit won't lead to UN action

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday afternoon and promised the Paris summit will not lead to further action at the United Nations or in any other international forums.

Kerry, who is attending the conference, spoke to Netanyahu by phone and promised there would be no follow up to the conference at the UN Security Council before Obama leaves office on January 20. He added that should any resolution be put forward during that time, the U.S. would oppose it.

Read full story here

Over 1,000 pro-Israel supporters demonstate in Paris

Over 1,000 people, mainly Jews, demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy in Paris on Sunday, protesting against the Middle East peace conference taking place in the city.

Protesters, many holding Israeli flags, said the summit attempts to hurt Israels position and to divide Jerusalem, which they said is a concern to Jews worldwide.

Read full story here

Two-state solution threatened by settlements and terrorists, Hollande warns

French President Francois Hollande warns the Paris conference that the two-state solution is threatened by the Israeli settlements and by Palestinian terrorists.

"A year ago, we launched the peace initiative to give a new horizon to the Middle East," Hollande says.

"The two-state solution is threatened due to settlements, as well as terrorists who were always afraid of peace," Hollande says, adding that ""all the conflicts in the Middle East made us think that the peace process can wait."

Hollande notes that the two-state solution has wide support in the Middle East and remains the main objective of the international community despite all its differences. "How can we expect stability in the Middle East without solving the oldest conflict in the region?" Hollande asks.

"I heard what some said about the conference," Hollande says. "There are always skeptics and those who never want anything to change. I heard people saying we were naive."

"We would all suffer if the Arab world renounces the two-state solution," Hollande says, concluding: "The two-state solution is the only solution that will bring peace and security."

Ayrault: Trump moving U.S. embassy to J'lem a provocation

France's foreign minister said that a proposal by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem would be a provocation with serious consequences.

"Of course [it's a provocation]. I think he would not be able to do it," Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television amid a conference on the Middle East peace process in Paris. "It would have extremely serious consequences and it's not the first time that it's on the agenda of a U.S. president, but none have let themselves make that decision.

"One cannot have such a clear-cut, unilateral position. You have to create the conditions for peace." Read more.

Diplomat: Complete chaos over conference's closing statement

Western diplomats participating in the Paris summit told Haaretz that last night's meeting discussing the closing statement of the conference ended in a stalemate.

The diplomats, who wished to remain nameless, noted that disagreements continue on Sunday. "There's complete chaos over the phrasing of the statement," one of them said. "Some of the participants want more details on several points, while others want to set up a monitoring mechanism for after the conference."

Protestors demonstrate during a rally in Paris on January 15, 2017 against the Paris Middle East peace conference taking place in the French capital.Credit: PIERRE CONSTANT/AFP

Herzog: Netanyahu should have gone to Paris conference

Opposition head Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have attended the Paris peace conference rather than boycott it.

"Netanyahu should have presented a clear position on Israel's policy on the conflict and not run away from the battleground," Herzog tweeted.

MK Ksenia Svetlova of Zionist Union said that "Netanyahu's failed policy of disregard and lack of cooperation creates fertile ground for international activity that affects Israel's future while the country plays no active role in the dialogue."

MK Michal Rozin of Meretz, a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that Israel's "boycott of the conference is another expression of how the government mocks the public will and ignores our security. The Israeli public, even in the last elections, chose a government to be headed by a leader who declared his support for a two-state solution. Achieving a permanent solution is inconsistent with the messianic policies aimed at achieving a greater Israel, which will lead ultimately to our own destruction."

Netanyahu: Paris conference futile, belongs in the past

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out against the Paris conference at the weekly cabinet meeting, calling it a "futile conference."

Netanyahu said that the event was coordinated between the French and the Palestinians, and that it is driving the prospects of peace away.

"These are the death throes of yesterday's world. Tomorrow will look different," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, January 15, 2017.Credit: Reuters

French FM: There is no solution other than two-state solution

The Paris conference opened with comments by French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Ayrault, who said that there was no other solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than the two-state solution: "I am aware of the reservations around this conference and the doubt about if it should be held at this time."

He added that France believes it is important to renew the push for peace, and thanked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his "tireless efforts to promote the peace process."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault addresses delegates at the opening of the Mideast peace conference in Paris on January 15, 2017.Credit: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP

"UN Resolution 2334 reaffirmed the need for the two-state solution. Now is not the time to stop," Ayrault said, referring to the recent UN resolution criticizing the Israeli settlements.

"Today we need to say that there is no solution other than the two-state solution and see how we can contribute to relaunch of peace talks."

"The goal is to put an end to this conflict so that this region can live in peace and prosperity," he said.

Read full story

Trump advisers 'strenuously object' to Paris peace conference

Senior French officials met a few weeks ago in New York with President-elect Donald Trumps advisers and presented the program for the international peace conference to be held Sunday in Paris, Haaretz has learned. Trumps team was said to have objected strenuously to the very holding of the conference, especially at this time, five days before Trumps inauguration.

Read full story here

Exclusive: Draft of final statement for Paris conference

The dozens of countries attending the Middle East peace conference in Paris on Sunday are expected to call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to publicly renew their commitment to the two-state solution, and to renounce officials in their respective governments who oppose it. The clause is contained in an updated draft of the conferences summary statement, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz.

Western diplomats involved in preparations for the conference noted that the clause refers both to declarations that have been made by Israeli ministers like Naftali Bennett, who called to remove the two-state solution from the agenda, and to senior PA and Fatah officials who have incited to violence against Israel. Read full text of the draft

Abbas: Paris peace summit could be two-state solution's last chance

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that the Paris peace conference convening on Sunday may be the last opportunity for achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In an interview to the French daily Le Figaro, Abbas also warned against a possible American decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, noting that such a decision would be detrimental to the peace process and may lead to a change in the Palestinian Authoritys stand on recognizing Israel. Read full report

Netanyahu: Paris peace conference rigged by Palestinians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the French government Thursday and the Palestinians in connection with the peace conference set to meet in Paris on Sunday with the participation of foreign ministers and senior diplomats from 70 countries and international organizations.

"It's a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances," said Netanyahu. Read full report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud faction meeting, January 9, 2017.Credit: Emil Salman

Why I decided to take action - France's foreign minister explains

The Middle East peace process cannot wait, for two main reasons.

First and foremost, the situation is urgent. Many crises throughout the region, from Syria to Libya, from Yemen to Iraq, have generated new threats to its stability. Some say that because of these crises, priorities need to be established, and in the name of these supposed priorities, resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be put off until later.

This is not what I believe: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be considered separately from its regional environment. Read Jean-Marc Ayrault's full article

New York rally against Paris peace summit draws tiny turnout

NEW YORK — Only a fraction of the 5,000 people organizers had expected to draw to a rally on Thursday outside the French Mission to the UN in New York actually showed up. The some 500 people who did turn up gathered to show their opposition to the international Middle East peace conference being convened in Paris on Sunday. Read full report

People gather outside the French Mission to the UN protesting against the Paris peace conference, January 12, 2017.Credit: Debra Nussbaum Cohen

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