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What's in store at Paris peace conference?

Three working groups for the Paris Middle East conference are preparing an incentive package for Israelis and Palestinians with the hope of enticing them to reopen negotiations.
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France's Dec. 22 announcement of a second Paris Middle East peace conference to take place Jan. 15 hardly surprised Israelis. With the adoption the next day of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 affirming the illegality of West Bank settlements, however, they could not help but wonder whether the two steps had been coordinated.

Regardless of this and a disagreement over whether the conference had been rescheduled to guarantee the participation and input of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel had already made up its mind. The prime minister’s office declined the invitation even before Paris confirmed the date, reiterating that Israel will only engage in direct negotiations with the Palestinians. Many Israelis agree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his refusal to take part in the conference, but what exactly is the conference expected to produce? A declaration? A working plan? The basis for another Security Council resolution? It seems that much has been written about Netanyahu's rejection, but little about the actual conference.

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