Israel fears fresh initiative at UN Security Council after Paris summit

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palestine flagIsrael’s UN ambassador on Friday raised concern over possible moves at the Security Council to adopt a new measure to build on the Paris Middle East conference.

Around 70 countries and international organizations meet in Paris on Sunday to reaffirm support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just days before Donald Trump takes office as US president.

Sweden’s Ambassador Olof Skoog, who holds this month’s presidency of the Security Council, said however that there were no immediate plans for council action.

“We are witnessing an attempt to promote a last-minute initiative before the new US administration takes office,” Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement.

“Supporters of the Palestinians are looking for further anti-Israel measures at the Security Council.”

The council is planning to meet on Tuesday to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its first meeting since the adoption of a resolution demanding an end to settlements built on Palestinian territory.

Asked about discussions on council action, Skoog said “I don’t think that’s correct.”

“Let’s see where we are next Tuesday, the main event now is Sunday’s conference in Paris.”

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said there were no plans to adopt either a draft resolution or a statement following the Paris conference.

“France has no such plan under preparation,” Delattre told AFP.

The Paris meeting aims to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, amid fears of fresh violence if Trump implements a pledge to recognize the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the Paris meeting as “a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.”

Israel reacted with fury after the United States refrained from using its veto at the council, allowing the anti-settlements resolution to be adopted by a vote of 14-0.

The summit

Palestinians have welcomed the meeting but Israel – who is not attending – says the conference is loaded against it.

The last round of direct peace talks collapsed amid acrimony in April 2014.

Israel and the Palestinians have been invited to hear the conclusions of the meeting, but not to participate in the summit itself.

It comes at a time of tension between Israel and the international community after the UN passed a resolution last month denouncing Israel’s settlement activity on occupied land.

Israel accused the Obama administration of engineering the motion and enabling it to pass by refraining from using its power of veto in the UN Security Council.

The White House denied colluding to get the resolution passed.

Reports say a draft statement for the meeting calls on Israel and the Palestinians “to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” and avoid taking “unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations”.

A “two-state solution” of a Palestinian country alongside Israel has long been endorsed by both sides but there are sharply divergent visions as to the type of state which should emerge.

The US state department said Secretary of State John Kerry would be at the meeting to ensure “whatever happens in this conference is constructive and balanced”.

Despite years of on-off peace talks, major differences still separate Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinians fiercely object to Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory it wants for a future state.

The settlements, home to about 600,000 Israelis, are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Other core issues include the future status of Jerusalem and the fate of millions of Palestinian refugees.