Speed Reads

diplomacy

Paris is hosting Mideast peace talks without Israelis, Palestinians, or the Trump team

On Sunday, diplomats from 70 nations — not including representatives of Israel, Palestine, or the incoming Donald Trump administration — met in Paris "to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The goal was to demonstrate to Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the breadth of international backing of a Palestinian state, but Netanyahu dismissed the Paris meeting as "futile" and "rigged" against Israel. "This conference is among the last twitches of the world of yesterday," he said. "Tomorrow will look different and that tomorrow is very close."

Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined the talks, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas initially planned to attend before his schedule changed. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the conference echoed Abbas' Saturday critique of Trump's promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue," he argued. "You have to try to create the conditions for peace."

The Israelis and Palestinians have not engaged in peace negotiations with each other since 2014. "It is not a question of dictating to the parties," French President Francois Hollande maintained on Sunday. "Only direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to peace. No one will do it in their place."