A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may soon be impossible, France said Friday at an international conference it is holding to revive the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
Foreign ministers from 26 countries gathered in Paris to participate in the French-led peace initiative. This included the Middle East Quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and about 20 countries. However, there was no Israeli or Palestinian participation.
“The possibility of two states, Israeli and Palestinian, living side-by-side, in peace and security, grows more distant by the day,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reportedly said after the meeting.
“The two-state solution is in serious danger. We are reaching a point of no return where this solution will not be possible,” Ayrault said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also attended the conference, and said the parties had discussed the possibility of convening an international conference by the end of this year. However, he mentioned that direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians would be necessary to achieve a solution, Reuters reported.
U.S. led efforts to broker peace have been on standstill for two years now. With the impending elections being the focus for Washington, France hoped to steer the process instead.
On a recent trip to the region by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, the Palestinians had welcomed the French initiative but Israeli officials insisted that an international conference will not work and that only direct talks between the old foes can bring peace.
“Actions speak louder than words... Mr. Netanyahu's actions have shown that he's more interested in building illegal settlements than in reaching peace,” Jamal Dajani, the director of communications for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, said last week.
The interim 1993 Oslo peace accords were meant to yield a “two state solution” within five years.