The French capital Paris is hosting an international conference in an effort to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, promoting alarm in Tel Aviv that the event would lead to more pressure against the regime on the global stage.
Over 70 countries and international organizations are attending the Paris Middle East conference, which opened on Sunday.
Israelis and Palestinians have been invited to hear the conclusions of the meeting, but they will not take part in the summit itself, which comes almost three years after the collapse of the last round of negotiations between the two sides.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed Sunday’s event as “a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.”
However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the event as the last chance for the implementation of the so-called two-state solution to the conflict.
“We as Palestinians say enough. After 70 years of dispersion and 50 years of occupation, 2017 should be the year for peace and freedom for our people,” Abbas said recently.
The summit comes less than a month after the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2334 that denounced Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
In a rare move, the outgoing US administration angered Israel by abstaining from the vote and allowing the motion to pass.
On Friday, Israel’s UN ambassador voiced concern over possible moves at the Security Council to adopt a new anti-Israel measure to build on the Paris meeting.
“We are witnessing an attempt to promote a last-minute initiative before the new US administration takes office,” Danny Danon said in a statement. “Supporters of the Palestinians are looking for further anti-Israel measures at the Security Council.”
The 15-nation council is planning to meet on Tuesday for talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its first meeting since the adoption of Resolution 2334.
The developments come amid tensions between Palestinians and the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump, who had pledged during his campaign to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds in a show of support for the Israeli regime.
Palestinians seek to establish a sovereign state with East al-Quds as its capital.
Abbas has warned that the relocation of the US diplomatic mission would kill off the so-called Middle East peace process.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Abbas’s Fatah Party warned that if the Trump administration goes ahead with the embassy move, it will “open the gates of hell,” Israeli media reported.
Osama Qawasmeh said Trump’s campaign promise, if implemented, would negate chances for peace and stability in the region, and “the Palestinian people won’t allow that to happen.”
The Paris conference will serve as a platform for the participating states to send a strong signal against the incoming American president, who has vowed strong support for the regime in Tel Aviv.
A senior unnamed French diplomat also said the potential embassy relocation would be “a unilateral decision that could escalate tensions on the ground.”
“Five days before he (Trump) becomes president, it’s not negligible that 70 countries recall (the need for) a two-state solution when his administration could implement controversial measures that may aggravate things,” the diplomat added.
The presence and the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories have been among the main reasons behind the collapse of the last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks in April 2014.
The Tel Aviv regime has defied international calls to stop its unauthorized construction activities in the occupied lands.