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.