By BB Portnoy
A leading US Jewish group is calling on French President Francois Hollande to cancel an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process set to be held in Paris on Jan. 15.
“In the aftermath of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which was a significant step backward in achieving direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and Secretary [of State John] Kerry’s speech on Middle East peace earlier this week, the international community should not plunge forward with the ill-conceived and poorly timed Paris conference,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein stated. “Now is a time for serious reflection on how peace can best be achieved, not for another sham forum in which the usual one-sided outcomes against Israel are the likeliest result. Given the significant issues that were raised in the past week which have long-term implications for the prospects for peace, proper preparation after serious consultation is essential.”
Another reason to put the conference on hold, Greenberg and Hoenlein said, was “the impending transition to a new US administration on January 20th. It makes no sense that the next administration is precluded from participating in a discussion of an essential component of US foreign policy with which it will be engaged.”
Instead of meeting in Paris, all of the involved parties should seek to bring Israel and the Palestinians together for “direct negotiations without pre-conditions,” Greenberg and Hoenlein went on to say.
“Israel has long sought direct talks, it is time for the Palestinian leaders to stop evading their responsibility and seeking to use international fora to avoid the only true path to a lasting peace,” they concluded.
In an interview with The Algemeiner earlier this week, Hoenlein warned it was possible the Obama administration could — following the passage of the anti-Israeli settlement Security Council resolution last Friday — take a “further damaging step” against the Jewish state before President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month.
“We need to prepare for every option,” Hoenlein said.
Expressing concern about the planned Paris conference, Hoenlein noted it “could produce a document that could then be brought to the Security Council for an immediate vote.”
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal