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Middle East Conference Ends With Warning Against Unilateral Steps

2 min read
Palestinians demonstrate in the 20th anniversary of the Massacre of Hebron

Israeli Army & Border Police troops banning by force Palestinians from entering Al-Shuhada' St. during the demonstration of the 20th anniversary of closing Al-Shuhada' (Martyr's) St. in the old city of Hebron. Where it's been closed since 1994 after the Massacre of Hebron where 29 Palestinian where killed by an Israeli man. Photo: Mustafa Bader.

More than 70 countries have called on Israel and the Palestinians to restate their commitment to a peace settlement and to refrain from unilateral actions.

The call was made in the final communique at a Mideast peace conference in Paris on January 15.

The statement urged both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” and disassociate from voices that reject this.

Palestinians welcomed the gathering and the final statement. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who refused to attend — said the conference was “rigged” against Israel.

The last round of direct peace talks collapsed amid acrimony in April 2014 after nine months of negotiations.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the statement amounted to a rejection of Israel’s occupation and settlement construction in captured territories. He said it sends a message that Israel “cannot achieve peace and stability” without ending its occupation.

Speaking to reporters after attending the gathering, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was significant that the final statement recognizes both the need to end Palestinian incitement and violence, as well as Israel’s security needs.

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Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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