On January 15th, representatives from 70 different countries will gather in Paris, France for an unprecedented global conference. The stated goal of this conference is to promote a “two-state solution” as the way that lasting peace will be brought to the Middle East. In Israel, there is a tremendous amount of concern that whatever is agreed upon at this conference will immediately be used as the basis for a UN Security Council resolution that would permanently divide the land of Israel and create a Palestinian state. But things would have to move very rapidly in order for that to happen, because Barack Obama’s time in the White House comes to an end on January 20th, and Donald Trump has already made it exceedingly clear that he would never support such a resolution.
The UN Security Council resolution that was passed on Friday was one of the most significant events that we have witnessed in decades. Resolution 2334 made all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem illegal, it set the 1967 ceasefire lines as the border between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and it granted every single inch of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. But it stopped short of giving official UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state, and that is why this conference on January 15th is so important.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will lay out a plan which many believe will serve as the blueprint for the upcoming conference in Paris. This is something that I discussed yesterday. Apparently Kerry has been working on this for quite some time, and according to the Times of Israel, Jewish officials are fearful that he may propose something drastic…
At a press briefing Tuesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed Kerry’s plans for the speech, though he refused to detail whether the top US diplomat would use the opportunity to announce a new American initiative, which officials in Jerusalem fear he may.
Toner said the secretary holds the conviction that “it is his duty in his remaining weeks and days as secretary of state to lay out what he believes is a way towards a two-state solution” and that “it’s always important to keep the process moving forward.”