From Paris: Good News for Israel, Better News for the Palestinians

At last Friday’s international conference on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, convened by France, there were some positive signs for the Jewish state, notes Zalman Shoval: President François Hollande acknowledged that the conflict is not the Middle East’s biggest problem and Germany, the UK, Russia, and the U.S. subtly indicated their lack of enthusiasm for a French-led peace initiative. Nonetheless, the big winners were the Palestinians, even if they didn’t get everything they hoped for:

As far as [the Palestinians] are concerned, the very fact that the conference took place and the chance that it might have a sequel plays into their game of internationalizing the conflict as much as possible—in other words, reaching a written agreement without direct negotiations with Israel and without concessions or compromise on their part. The original intention of the French was even more radical and imbalanced: to pay lip service to the idea of negotiations, but announce from the outset that if the negotiations failed, Paris would recognize a Palestinian state. In other words, [it would have been] an invitation to the Palestinians to dig in their heels.

For now, the French might have lowered the gun they had pointed at Israel, but they are repeating the standard refrain that the settlements (which they equate with acts of terrorism) are the main thing bogging down the peace process, and have even added a cry for “a full end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967,” ignoring the reasons for the “occupation” and in total contradiction of UN Security Council Resolution 242, which conditioned an Israeli withdrawal from “territories” (not all of them) on the establishment of secure and recognized boundaries.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: France, Francois Hollande, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Peace Process

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security