The most remarkable thing about the Paris Middle East conference that convenes on May 30 will surely be the absence of Israel and Palestine. It will be a two-state solution conference without the two states. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would have loved to participate, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is glad to stay at home surrounded by the yes men (and women) of his cabinet. The last thing on the Israeli prime minister’s mind at this point is any progress on a two-state solution. He swore before the last March 2015 Israeli elections that no Palestinian state will be established during his tenure and he intends to keep his promise to his loyal constituency.
At their Élysée meeting on April 15, Abbas told French President François Hollande that he fully supports the French initiative. According to a senior Palestinian Authority official who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, Abbas is closely coordinating with the Arab League and Egypt regarding the upcoming conference. The Palestinians are determined to achieve the creation of a new international platform for a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with a reasonable timeline for the establishment of statehood.