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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 January 2019

Time for action on Palestine

Renewed diplomatic efforts to kick start the peace process could soon get very serious
French president Francois Hollande delivers his speech at the opening of an international meeting in a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in Paris, France. Kamil Zihnioglu / AP Photo
French president Francois Hollande delivers his speech at the opening of an international meeting in a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in Paris, France. Kamil Zihnioglu / AP Photo

Since the end of the Second Intifada, it has become increasingly commonplace to discuss the death of the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli settlement building on the West Bank and the entrenchment of Tel Aviv’s matrix of control over Palestinian life has made the two-state solution, as laid out in the Oslo peace accords, a distant possibility.

There is no real replacement for two states as analysts, observers and people on the ground disagree about the viability of a one state solution and other possible solutions. The only constant, it would seem, is the status quo, which translates to continued Israeli control and domination.

The changing nature of discourse on the conflict, however, has not stopped major powers from pursuing the two state framework and regularly bemoaning the diplomatic stalemate that exists between Israel and Palestinians. The meeting last week in Paris of 20 foreign ministers from across the world to kick-start a new French initiative for peace is the latest attempt to revive the peace process along these accepted contours.

Unsurprisingly, the French meeting didn’t present any new road map for solving the conflict. There was no adoption of more radical methods of pressure on Israel to end the occupation like sanctions or state support of civil society boycotts. Despite the genteel nature of the meeting, Israeli leaders essentially rejected the meeting’s premise.

Ultimately, any diplomatic effort to end the status quo in Israel and Palestine will need teeth. The French initiative is widely seen as the start of several diplomatic events that will increase international pressure on Tel Aviv. These efforts could culminate in a binding UN Security Council resolution on Israel’s settlement project. Such resolutions, which could escape an American veto during Barack Obama’s last months in office, would open the flood gates of diplomatic and civil society pressure on Israel. The French meeting last week was little more than standard hand-wringing, but concrete action is on the horizon.

Updated: June 5, 2016 04:00 AM

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