A report published by the Times of Israel news website said Tuesday Israel adopts a lackadaisical wait-and-see approach to the Paris peace conference and refuses to launch any diplomatic initiatives of its own.
This coming Friday, foreign ministers from some of the world’s most powerful countries, including the United States, Russia and Germany, as well as a handful of Arab states, will gather in Paris to discuss ways to reanimate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The two parties at the heart of the conflict will not send official representatives to this week’s conference, a precursor to a second gathering later this year that Israelis and Palestinians are urged to attend.
According to the report, Israeli officials this week refused to speak on record about their preparations ahead of the confab, but in private conversations indicated that Jerusalem is against the initiative, has not been invited to it, and is therefore not doing anything about it.
It added: the lackadaisical wait-and-see approach to the Paris peace conference is emblematic of Israel’s Palestinian policy since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in 2009.
Refusing to launch any diplomatic initiatives of his own, the prime minister routinely criticizes any and every plan to resuscitate the moribund peace process that is not centered on direct bilateral talks, the report said.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu continues to call for bilateral negotiations, often evoking Israel’s covert rapprochement with moderate Sunni states in the neighborhood as a possible catalyst for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.
On Monday evening, he embraced the Arab Peace Initiative (at least partially), offering to negotiate its terms with the Arab world and hailing the Egyptian president’s recent overture to assist Israelis and Palestinians with reigniting the peace process.
The Israeli website noted that this dramatic statement was meant to fend off criticism of his move to appoint the hawkish Avigdor Liberman as defense minister, and to gauge whether some warm words about the 2002 peace initiative could jumpstart a regional approach to the conflict.