Paris summit turns out ‘flat as a failed souffle,’ Israel says

The Paris peace summit, despite concern that it could end with another damaging anti-Israel resolution, turned out “flat as a failed souffle,” Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emanuel Nahshon said.

The conclusion of Sunday’s Mideast peace conference in Paris urged Israelis and Palestinians to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution.” It also warned both sides against taking one-sided actions that could hurt talks, an apparent reference to Israeli settlement building in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Despite concern in Israel that the conference could end with another damaging resolution against the Jewish state, nothing of the sort occurred. Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State John Kerry – who had defended the Obama administration’s abstention from UN Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning Israeli settlements and had led the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations – assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US would oppose any further resolutions based on conclusions at the summit.

Nonetheless, the summit, with the participation of over 70 countries, ended with a message to Israel as well as to the incoming US administration that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to international opinion, is a two-state solution.

“The two-state solution is still the objective of the international community for the future,” French President Francois Hollande said. “With this conference I wanted to inscribe the two-state solution on the international agenda.”

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However, “We do not want to impose any solutions,” he suggested. “It is not a question of dictating to the parties … Only direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to peace. No one will do it in their place,” he told the gathered diplomats from across Europe, the Mideast and other regions, as well as from the United Nations, the Arab League and other international organizations.

“The fight against ISIS has occupied the international community. But how can you think that the Middle East can be stabilized if you don’t deal with its oldest conflict?” he stated. “The world cannot, should not resign itself to the status quo,”

Hollande urged the diplomats to support peace efforts by offering economic incentives to Israelis and Palestinians.

The final declaration also included criticism of incitement and “terror,” an apparent reference to Palestinian attacks. And some of the pro-Palestinian language in an earlier draft was removed after diplomats huddled in Paris.

The incoming US administration did not take part in the meeting, nor did it immediately comment on its final statement. President-elect Donald Trump had expressed disagreement with the conference.

Apparently in deference to the Trump team, the UK delegation did not include any senior-level officials.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon dismissed Sunday’s conference, tweeting that it was “flat as a failed soufflé.”

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“A big show is no replacement for direct negotiations between the parties,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly objected to the conference, saying that only direct negotiations could bring about a peace deal. The conference, he said, marked the “last flutters of yesterday’s world.”

“Tomorrow will look different and tomorrow is very close,” he said in apparent reference to Trump’s incoming administration.

While the conference was underway, a few hundred pro-Israel demonstrators, waving Israeli flags and placards denouncing the summit, gathered outside Israel’s embassy in Paris.

“The Palestinians and a number of Arab states have not expressed a will for peace,” said Serge Klarsfeld, a well-known French Nazi hunter. “If it existed and if the Arab world recognized the existence of Israel, we would find the means to solve all the problems very quickly.”

By: World Israel News and AP