France Holds World Summit on Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

تم نشره في Sun 15 January / Jan 2017. 12:00 AM
  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault opened the conference on Sunday - (AP)

A major international conference to try to kick-start peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian parties is under way in the French capital, Paris.

Delegates from 70 nations are expected to reaffirm support for a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.

Palestinians have welcomed the meeting but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who is not attending - says the conference is "futile".

The last round of direct peace talks collapsed amid acrimony in April 2014.

Israeli and Palestinian parties have been invited to hear the conclusions of the meeting, but not to participate in the summit itself.

It comes at a time of tension between Israel and the international community after the UN passed a resolution last month denouncing Israel's settlement activity on occupied land.

Israel accused the Obama administration of engineering the motion and enabling it to pass by not using its power of veto in the UN Security Council.

The White House denied colluding to get the resolution passed.

Tensions have also risen over US President-elect Donald Trump's plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive and complex issues of the entire conflict. The Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state but Israel proclaim the entire city as its capital.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 TV on Sunday he thought Mr Trump would not be able to make the move, but if he did, it would have "extremely serious consequences".

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

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned on Saturday that such a move could "bury the hopes for a two-state solution".

There is deep alarm among participants at the conference that if President Trump does break with decades of US policy and move the embassy to Jerusalem, then conditions will be set for another upsurge in violence in the region, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.