French souflé

A souflé is a light concoction with very little substance, that exactly describes the French initiative to hold a peace conference on the Middle East, actually on the Israel-Palestine issue.  The French, just as the Russians and the Islamic State, are taking advantage of the retraction of the US under the Obama Administration from the Middle East to insert their own initiative.  But, unlike the Russians this doesn’t take the form of military intervention, this is a more typically French oblique approach.  The former French FM Laurent Fabius announced that France would convene a conference in Paris on the Israel-Palestine issue, without the two combatants, so that France and the others could decide what will happen, and then there will be another conference where they will tell the combatants what they have decided, and if Israel doesn’t agree then France (and presumably the others) will immediately recognize a Palestinian State, whether or not they agree without the decisions of the conference (presuming that it will be pro-Palestinian anyway).  Actually this would be a tripe souflé.

What on earth will there be for the Palestinians to compromise over if France, in its usual clever way, has announced that they will get what they want at the end without doing anything.  In other words, this is from the start a set-up to force Israel to capitulate to France’s pro-Palestinian demands. Israel should take no part in this French farce. How can a conference be effective without one of the main combatants there?  The whole concept is ridiculous, apart from the fact that it does not address the deep schism in the Palestinian side between nationalist Fatah that controls the West Bank and Islamist Hamas that controls Gaza.  In addition to which the PA presidency of Abbas is illegal since he voided elections back in 2009.  And this all comes about because Pres. Obama has skillfully avoided supporting the staunch US ally Israel, leaving the opportunity for the French to sidle in and try its European pro-Palestinian diktat.

This is certainly not a good time for a peace conference on the Middle East, with the whole region in disarray. while tens of thousands are being killed in Syria and there are numerous international interventions there, while Iraq is battling the IS, while Saudi Arabia is engaged in a war in Yemen and Libya is in melt-down.  Also, Abbas has vowed to avoid any negotiations with Israel at all costs.  The French are merely trying to secure PR points while the Palestinians are trying to attract attention back to their lost cause. What a fiasco.


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