The Prime Minister’s Office spared no time in declaring the multilateral conference on advancing Mideast peace a failure. He may have missed a few things.
By Shemuel Meir
It is difficult to ignore the unbridled joy that took over the Prime Minister’s Office as its spokespeople went out of their way to declare the Paris peace summit, which took place this past weekend, a failure. Their proof? A “shallow” final statement that included neither a defined time table (for further international involvement? For Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank?) and did not mention “1967 lines.”
The spokespeople patted themselves on the shoulder, hinting that what they viewed as a meager outcome of the Paris Summit stemmed from Israel’s global diplomatic efforts. A summit of 29 foreign ministers who discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was presented as another “photo op” and a PR stunt by France.
Israeli commentators and political correspondents tended to accept the PMO’s version as is, which was then reflected in their writing in the Israeli media. But a closer examination of the summit and the declarations made by leading foreign ministers who participated paints an entirely different picture. There is no factual basis for the PMO’s elation.
Even the Prime Minister’s Office’s attempt to portray the failure in Paris as a “historic mistake” by enlisting the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement looks baseless. The relevance of the comparison is unclear, as is the reasoning for using phrases such as “the Sykes-Picot diktat.” Perhaps it was an attempt to coin a new, catchy phrase, such as the “appeasing Munich Conference,” which starred in the government’s fear-mongering hasbara efforts vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear issue.
I will try to separate the truth from the background noise, in order to lay out a framework for a public discussion based on facts, rather than metaphors.
The closing statement published at the end of the summit, which included U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, was short and straightforward. The text defined the summit’s main goal — the two-state solution — and established that the status quo was unsustainable. In doing so the participants rejected the prime minister’s conflict management doctrine. The foreign ministers were “alarmed by the actions on the ground,” in particular continued acts of violence and settlement activity. They did not accept the Israeli position that Palestinian terror and rejectionism is at the base of the conflict....Read More