Dec 14,2016 -JORDAN TIMES – Daoud Kuttab
The French government’s attempt to bring peace to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is moving into high gear in the weeks before the end of the year and before the change of leadership in the US.
What makes the French plan interesting is that it is committed to dismantle the various knots that are complicating the peace process rather than confronting them or complaining about them.
French Ambassador to Jordan David Bertolotti says that the European effort in support for the two-state solution is based on creating working groups that attempt to deal with the nuts and bolts of what is necessary to make Palestinian statehood possible.
While the French are leading the current effort, they are working with others to make it happen.
The Germans have been given the lead in helping build the capacity of the future Palestinian state, the Swedes are working with Palestinian civil society, while the EU Brussels headquarters is commissioned with handling the overall economic challenges that the Palestinian state needs to address.
The big issue continues to be the political stalemate that Israel has imposed by choosing direct talks as the only means it agrees to.
A European diplomat said that the French are flexible in trying to accommodate the Israeli demands without compromising the conference.
A possible way to finesse the problem is that once the December 21st conference is over, Paris will invite Palestinian and Israeli leaders for a meeting in which they will debrief them on the results of the meeting.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the US.