France’s president said on Friday that “strengthening Middle East upheaval since the collapse of the round of Israel-Palestinian peace talks has complicated the process and makes it even more urgent to bring the two sides back to the table”.
With U.S. efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace in deep freeze for two years and Washington focused on its November presidential election, France lobbied for an international conference that began on Friday with the aim of breaking the apathy over the gridlock and stir new diplomatic momentum.
While Palestinians have supported the French initiative, Israeli officials have said it is doomed to fail and that only direct negotiations can lead to a solution to the generation’s old conflict.
Neither Israel nor the Palestinians have been invited to the conference, though the objective is to get them to negotiate after the U.S. elections.
“The discussion on the conditions for peace between Israelis and Palestinians must take into account the entire region,” Francois Hollande told delegates at the opening of the conference in Paris.
“The threats and priorities have changed,” he said, referring to the escalating Middle East conflict that has engulfed Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, mostly Kurdish southeast and the spread of Islamic State insurgents through wide paths of the region.
“The changes make it even more urgent to find a solution to the conflict, and this regional upheaval creates new obligations for peace,” Hollande said