Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas voiced hope Tuesday that a French initiative to hold an international Middle East peace conference could lead to a solution like breakthrough talks on Iran’s nuclear deal.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in April 2014 and since then, the situation has deteriorated, with the prospects of fresh dialogue appearing more remote than ever.
Twenty-eight Israelis and three foreign nationals have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. Over 170 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
In January, then French foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced plans by Paris to revive plans for an international conference to “bring about the two-state solution” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abbas said he hoped the proposal “would allow the creation of a mechanism for a political solution on the model of what happened between the Europeans, Americans and Iran.”
Last year, Iran struck a deal with world powers that agreed to provide Tehran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.
The July 15, 2015, accord concluded in Vienna ended 12 years of crisis and was reached after 21 months of protracted negotiations.
Should efforts to breathe life into the moribund peace process fail, France would move to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state, Fabius said in January.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed France’s proposal, describing it as “mystifying” and counterproductive, arguing that it gives Palestinians no incentive to compromise.