Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has voiced hope that a French initiative to hold an international Middle East peace conference could lead to a solution like breakthrough talks on Iran’s nuclear deal.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in April 2014 and since then, the situation has deteriorated, with the prospects of fresh dialogue appearing more remote than ever.
A wave of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories since October has killed 178 Palestinians as well as 28 Israelis, an American, a Sudanese and an Eritrean, according to an AFP toll.
In January, then French foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced plans by Paris to revive plans for an international conference to “bring about the two-state solution” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abbas said he hoped the proposal “would allow the creation of a mechanism for a political solution on the model of what happened between the Europeans, Americans and Iran”.
Last year Iran struck a historic deal with world powers, that agreed to provide Tehran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for limits on its atomic programme.
The July 15, 2015, accord concluded in Vienna ended 12 years of crisis and was reached after 21 months of protracted negotiations.
Should efforts to breathe life into the moribund peace process fail, France would move to unilaterally recognise Palestine as a state, Fabius said in January.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed France’s proposal, describing it as “mystifying” and counterproductive, arguing that it gives Palestinians no incentive to compromise.