The French government is planning an international peace conference to reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) - and it appears that France is placing the burden of reaching a settlement on Israel.
On Tuesday French officials met with representatives of both Israel and the PA to present the basic framework of the peace conference. According to an AP report, the conference is being planned for this summer.
France’s proposed peace conference would include not only Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but the US, European powers, and other Arab states. Should the effort fail to produce a negotiated final status agreement, France says it will act unilaterally to recognize a Palestinian state; a thinly veiled ultimatum to Israel.
The announcement of the planned peace conference comes on the heels of opposing statements on Monday by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin encouraging a return to direct bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki rejecting any direct negotiations with Israel.
The adoption by France of a broad, multilateral model for the conference appears to be a tacit endorsement of the PA's refusal to participate in direct talks.
The PA expressed support for the French plan, while Israeli officials declined to offer any official reaction.