News Analysis : Palestinian call for holding int’l peace conference faces obstacles

RAMALLAH/PNN/  Xinhua

The Palestinians are calling for holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East; however, their call is facing significant political obstacles, according to local analysts and observers.

The main obstacles included the reality of Israeli and American rejection of the idea of holding an international peace conference, as well as the current weak Arab position that would obstruct gaining enough support for the Palestinian leadership’s demand, said the experts.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed in an online speech before the 75th United Nations General Assembly convention on Sept. 25, calling on the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to hold an international conference for peace.

He called for involving the concerned international parties in the conference and launching a real peace process based on the international resolutions to end the Israeli occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders.

LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES

Ashraf el-Ajramai, a Ramallah-based political analyst, said that the principle of holding an international conference for peace is to find an alternative instead of the American monopoly of the Mideast peace process.

“Historically, the United States mediated between Israel and the Palestinians and backed the vision of the two-state on 1967 borders,” al-Ajrami said, adding that “under (U.S. President Donald) Trump administration, the situation became complicated because the U.S. has fully adopted Israel’s positions on the expense of the Palestinians.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) severed its political ties with the United States after Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017 and moved his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the city. PA also rejected Trump’s Mideast peace plan.

“Trump’s deal of the century does not only deny all international references of the peace process but also fully adopts the Israeli narration and erased the national rights of the Palestinian people,” al-Ajrami said.

The last US-sponsored peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had stopped in 2014 due to differences over settlement, security, and borders. The Palestinians reject any sole American sponsorship of the peace negotiations.

HARD CIRCUMSTANCES

Akram Atallah, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that the Palestinians’ call for holding an international peace conference came amid a complicated situation and a complete stalemate of any possibility to reach a peace deal with Israel.

“The Palestinians look for gaining a stable and strong international consensus that backs the two-state vision as the main basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calls for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian cause,” Atallah said.

Israel is becoming more extreme amid a weak Arab position and an European silent and non-active role, adding that “all these circumstances are making it hard for the Palestinians to hold a peace conference.”

Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine in the UN, had earlier told Palestinian radio “Voice of Palestine” that the Palestinian mission in the UN began the first preliminary steps in the preparation and consultations for the convening of a peace conference.

He said the consultations included the European Union and the Security Council’s permanent members to get back to the basics of resolving the conflict in the Middle East and resolving the Palestinian cause.

SHARP ISRAELI REFUSAL

Hani al-Masri, director of the Ramallah-based Masarat Center for Researches and Studies, said that the active Palestinian role is facing a sharp Israeli rejection of the idea of holding an international conference for peace.

“Holding an international peace conference is not possible because Israel prefers bilateral negotiations to be able to impose its solution on the Palestinians based on its power, military superiority, and absolute American support for it,” al-Masri said.

The expert added that the chances of holding the conference “are impossible due to the absence of real international competition with the American role, which unilaterally controls the region.”