Israel and the Upcoming Peace Conference

  • 3 October 2007

At a time when efforts are being made at various levels to formulate a definite framework for the upcoming international peace conference, to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, recent statements issued by Israel indicate that it is trying to distort the objectives of the conference, and wants to guide them towards its unjustified objectives. A cursory review of the recent remarks by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni betrays an Israeli plan to transform the anticipated “peace conference’ in the United States into a forum for realizing it misguided outlook toward peace, instead of reaching a settlement based on international legitimacy. In her recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Livni called upon Arabs to provide support instead of what she called “their present imposition of conditions” on the peace process in the Middle East. In an interview with the Israeli Haaretz newspaper on September 30, she called upon Arab countries not to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves, and in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Livni confirmed that the peace conference would not discuss final settlement issues. Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert also spoke in a similar vein recently, when he said that expectations should not be raised regarding the outcome of the conference.

What is strange is that at a time when Livni has called upon Arabs not to set conditions, she has herself imposed new terms on countries that want to attend the peace conference. She has stated that countries that want to attend the conference would have to accept the existence of Israel. Thus, even before the commencement of the conference, Israel sees itself in a position it to impose conditions, which others cannot. It also sees that it has the right to define the agenda and the framework for the deliberations of the conference. Undoubtedly, such an attitude would not help in achieving real peace. Israel is insisting on throwing the ball into the Arab court, and is abstaining from carrying out any action that could prove its seriousness in reaching a real settlement. Thus, it is continues to speak the way it wants, as it does not feel any pressure to change its policies and positions. In this regard, international powers should fulfill their responsibility to prevent Israel from subverting the peace conference toward its intended objective.