Diplomats seek to revive Israel-PA talks

Officials from UN, EU, Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France announce potential “small steps” towards reviving peace talks.

Elad Benari ,

Netanyahu and Abbas
Netanyahu and Abbas
Flash 90

Leading European and Arab world diplomats on Thursday announced potential “small steps” Thursday toward reviving Mideast peace efforts, The Associated Press reported.

The officials — from the UN, EU, Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France — did not release any specific details, however.

There have not been any serious Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace talks in over a decade and it is unclear what the diplomats can do concretely to create conditions to bring the two sides closer together, especially without the participation of the US.

Past efforts under the Obama Administration to broker a peace agreement failed in 2014 when the PA unilaterally applied to join international organizations in breach of the conditions of the talks.

The Biden administration has called on both sides to refrain from unilateral steps that could harm peace efforts. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently told Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi the US believes in a two-state solution to solve the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict.

“We are going to initiate meetings with both parties within a timeframe built around the electoral calendar to identify, with them, the steps they are in a position to take to kickstart mutual trust,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday, according to AP.

He mentioned possible health and economic measures, without elaborating.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that the results of elections in Israel and the Palestinian Authority could complicate relations, stressing the importance of pursuing dialogue in the meantime.

The Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers urged efforts “to save the two-state solution”, according to AP.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan, recently met in Cairo where they called for a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict.

The four countries also “emphasized the role of the United States in this context, and expressed willingness to work with the United States towards facilitating negotiations leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, based on the internationally-recognized parameters, and re-launching a credible peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

The PA had rejected attempts by the Trump administration to broker peace talks with Israel, arguing that Trump was biased in favor of Israel and therefore not an “honest broker”.

However, the PA welcomed the election of Joe Biden as US President, and has indicated it would be willing to resume talks.