A Stumbling Block on the Path to Peace

Back in February the French launched a new peace initiative that they hoped would help in the conflict between Israel and its neighbours.

Map of Arab League member states

Arab League member states

And on Saturday AFP reported that the Arab League supported this peace initiative. ‘Arab foreign ministers welcomed the French initiative and France's attempt to encourage both Israeli and Palestinian factions to the negotiations table.’

But Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed the French initiative on the grounds that “direct negotiation with the Palestinians without preconditions” is the only conceivable way to resolve the longstanding conflict. The Israelis are said to be wary of the French initiative because the French initially said that if Israel wouldn’t agree to accept their conditions France would support a Palestinian state.

Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be more interested in an initiative by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which appears to hold greater prospects of getting the two sides to negotiate directly.

However, the biggest stumbling block remains, in the lack of unity amongst the Palestinians. Hamas may appear to be willing to participate in peace talks, but it is still intent on retaining its ‘principles’ regarding the Palestinian right to liberate all of historic Palestine – i.e. to eliminate Israel.