9 reasons France’s effort to make peace in Israel-Palestine matters

Published February 28th, 2016 - 04:02 GMT

On Jan. 29, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that France would try to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The negotiations are expected to take place as early as April, and will involve Israel, the Palestinian Authority and their “main partners” in the United States, Europe and the Arab world.

In the weeks since the announcement, Fabius has left office, but France is forging ahead with its plan. The French government submitted details of its peace proposal to UN Security Council members this month, according to a recent report in The Jerusalem Post. That report also said that the French envoy to Tel Aviv had recently presented the Israeli Foreign Ministry with details of France’s plan to convene a peace conference in Paris this summer.

France is obviously not the first Western power to think it can bring peace to one of the longest-running conflicts on the planet. But here are nine reasons why this latest peacebuilding effort matters.

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john kerry mahmoud abbas

The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has been dead since the US’s failed effort in 2014. Palestinian frustration over lack of a peace process has been a driving force in the Stabbing Intifada that has shaken Israel since early October.

laurent fabius bibi netanyahu

France said that even if negotiations fail, it will go ahead and officially recognize a Palestinian state. If that comes to pass, it will be the first time a permanent member of the UN Security Council member has formally acknowledged Palestine’s statehood.

laurent fabius france

France will be the third country in Western Europe to officially recognize a Palestinian state--Iceland and Sweden both did so in recent years, but neither country has nearly the global influence that France has.

israel founded 1948

After Israel was founded in 1948, France was one of the first countries to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with the new nation. Therefore, by recognizing a Palestinian state, it’s sending a powerful message to a close ally.

synagogue in france

France has the largest Jewish population of anywhere in Europe, giving added importance to its decision to side with the Palestinians on the two-state issue.

yasser arafat PLO

France has publicly called for a Palestinian state at least as far back as 1974, when it voted in favor of giving the Palestinian Liberation Organization observer status in the United Nations. It appears to at last be making good on old promises.

francois hollande abu mazen

France’s vow to acknowledge Palestinian sovereignty even if negotiations fail gives Palestinians a strong bargaining chip. They will not have to make many concessions to the Israelis if they know that France will recognize their national status regardless.

bibi netanyahu

As former State Department peace negotiator Aaron David Miller acknowledged to a USA Today reporter, France’s unilateral recognition of Palestine is “only going to deepen Netanyahu’s sense of isolation.”

bibi netanyahu

Finally, France’s maneuvering on the two-state issue signals that Israel’s closest allies are fed up with Netanyahu’s waffling, and will take action to move towards a peace agreement--even if the Israeli government won’t.

john kerry mahmoud abbas
laurent fabius bibi netanyahu
laurent fabius france
israel founded 1948
synagogue in france
yasser arafat PLO
francois hollande abu mazen
bibi netanyahu
bibi netanyahu
john kerry mahmoud abbas
The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has been dead since the US’s failed effort in 2014. Palestinian frustration over lack of a peace process has been a driving force in the Stabbing Intifada that has shaken Israel since early October.
laurent fabius bibi netanyahu
France said that even if negotiations fail, it will go ahead and officially recognize a Palestinian state. If that comes to pass, it will be the first time a permanent member of the UN Security Council member has formally acknowledged Palestine’s statehood.
laurent fabius france
France will be the third country in Western Europe to officially recognize a Palestinian state--Iceland and Sweden both did so in recent years, but neither country has nearly the global influence that France has.
israel founded 1948
After Israel was founded in 1948, France was one of the first countries to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with the new nation. Therefore, by recognizing a Palestinian state, it’s sending a powerful message to a close ally.
synagogue in france
France has the largest Jewish population of anywhere in Europe, giving added importance to its decision to side with the Palestinians on the two-state issue.
yasser arafat PLO
France has publicly called for a Palestinian state at least as far back as 1974, when it voted in favor of giving the Palestinian Liberation Organization observer status in the United Nations. It appears to at last be making good on old promises.
francois hollande abu mazen
France’s vow to acknowledge Palestinian sovereignty even if negotiations fail gives Palestinians a strong bargaining chip. They will not have to make many concessions to the Israelis if they know that France will recognize their national status regardless.
bibi netanyahu
As former State Department peace negotiator Aaron David Miller acknowledged to a USA Today reporter, France’s unilateral recognition of Palestine is “only going to deepen Netanyahu’s sense of isolation.”
bibi netanyahu
Finally, France’s maneuvering on the two-state issue signals that Israel’s closest allies are fed up with Netanyahu’s waffling, and will take action to move towards a peace agreement--even if the Israeli government won’t.