Germany, France call for Israel to return to 1967 lines

Foreign Ministers of the four countries met in Cairo, called on the U.S. to resume mediating the Middle East peace process.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

France and Germany said Monday they want the United States to resume its role mediating between Israel and the Palestinians, but reiterated their position supporting the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines and the apparently now defunct Arab Peace Initiative.

Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France and German minister Heiko Maasof were hosted in Cairo by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Ayman Safadi of Jordan in a forum known as The Munich Group, which has met previously to discuss how to restart the moribund Middle East Peace Process.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the ministers said the “resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution is an indispensable requirement to comprehensive peace in the region,” adding that this included “an independent and viable Palestinian state based on June 4, 1967 lines and UN Security Council resolutions, living side by side a secure and recognized Israel.”

The statement also said peace would be based on the Arab Peace Initiative (API), a 2002 Saudi Arabian plan that called on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel only after a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Arab Peace Initiative appears to be dead in the water following the signing last year of the Abraham Accords, after which the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all announced they were normalizing relations with Israel, in other words, not waiting for a resolution to the Arab-Palestinian conflict. Despite bypassing the API, all four countries have also said they remain committed to helping the Palestinians.

However, given that Egypt and Jordan were the first two Arab states to make peace with neighboring Israel, the four ministers also said they recognized the recently signed peace treaties are “contributing to the resolution of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution so that comprehensive and lasting peace is achieved.”

“Settling the Palestinian cause will alter the reality and condition of the entire region for the better,” Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told the four following their meeting in comments reported by Al Ahram, adding that doing so “will open new paths and horizons for regional cooperation between governments and peoples.”

“This [reasoning] stems from the reality Egypt has experienced during its pioneering experiment in the region by opting for the path of peace [with Israel] and practicing it for more than four decades,” El-Sisi said.

With Joe Biden set to enter the White House next week, the ministers said they “emphasized the role of the United States,” and added that they are willing to work to see the U.S. again facilitating negotiations.

Le Drian said that the next meeting of the quartet committee would be held in Paris.