Israel has seen this before: World powers believing they have a model that will redesign Middle East borders without concern for those who live there. 100 years ago, Europe tried to divvy up the Middle East. Today, France is spearheading an effort on Israel-Palestinian peace that oddly enough didn’t invite Israel or the Palestinians to the opening meeting. Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dr. Dore Gold already knows how this plan will go, just based on what happened last time.
“It failed, as we see today in the streets of Libya and Iraq, and this newest effort will fail as well,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Dr. Gold as saying Thursday ahead of the French summit. In another comment on the Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account, Dr. Gold made it clear that “the only way to make peace is by means of direct negotiations.” This is a message that Israel has been expressing for weeks. Yet so far the Palestinians have yet to seriously take Israel up on their offer to speak face-to-face, and although they came the closest yet on Thursday, the sentiment was either shallow or insincere.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he’d at least talk with new Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, but only if the latter accepted the two state solution, according to a report by Israeli state radio Reshet Bet that was republished by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency. What they’d talk about was not made clear in the report.
Abbas’ mistake? Lieberman endorsed a two-state solution earlier this week.
So about those talks, President Abbas…
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said the French peace initiative would make the mistake of imposing a plan on the parties, and on Thursday he reiterated the danger of such a result. A press release from Netanyahu’s office paraphrased the Israeli leader’s warning to Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini that “the conference would allow the Palestinians to evade direct negotiations.”
Based on Abbas’ comments on Thursday, even when he offers to talk directly, he’s still evading.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 2, 2016)