When in January 2016 French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced an international conference in Paris to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinians were hopeful. Fabius had warned that if Israel refused to go along with the plan, France would recognize the state of Palestine. The conference called by Paris was held on Jan. 15, 2016, and attended by 70 foreign ministers from relevant countries, with the exception of those from Israel (which refused to take part) and Palestine (which was not invited after Israel's rejection). Fabius did not stay in office long enough to follow through himself, and the peace conference he announced failed to reach a breakthrough or usher in French recognition of the state of Palestine. The conference’s joint declaration merely stressed support for a two-state solution and opposition to Israeli settlements.
Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official and former chief negotiator, told Al-Monitor that the idea of the conference, the conveyor of the plan and the conference’s conditionality seemed like the perfect forum for the Palestinians. “We supported the French plan because it came from a leading European country, included a broad international presence and it cleverly circumvented the Americans, who usually obstruct such international efforts,” Shaath said.