Palestine has again rejected a US peace plan for the region and instead called for international powers and agencies to convene talks in a bid to help start negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
But the suggestion of a new diplomatic mechanism under an international umbrella has left some analysts skeptical on the feasibility of such an arrangement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday encouraged the international quartet of Middle East mediators－the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations－to join with the UN Security Council and other countries “to hold an international conference for peace … to implement resolutions of international legitimacy”.
However, the diplomatic mechanism, if established, may play only a limited role in solving the problems between Palestine and Israel and in restricting the behavior of the United States, said Shu Meng, a researcher at the Middle East Studies Institute at Shanghai International Studies University.
“Palestine wishes to restrict the influence of the US by including more powers, especially when the other three parties in the quartet are at odds with the US in dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli issues,” she said. “Thus, their involvement can restrict the US’ attitude of being partial toward Israel.”
But any restrictions on the US’ behavior would be limited, as indicated by the fact that the condemnations and criticism of its Middle East peace plan “didn’t ultimately change the US’ support for Israel”, Shu said.
Also, given the main players’ different positions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, it would be hard for them to work together to mediate, she added.
Moreover, the mechanism may not prove as effective as Abbas would hope for in settling the arguments between Palestine and Israel with the absence of any direct participation by Arab countries.
“One of the core problems of the Palestinian-Israeli issue concerns the refugees, and this issue involves countless ties with the surrounding Arab countries,” Shu said. “It is unrealistic to bypass those countries when trying to solve the refugee problem as Palestine, Israel and the Arab world are closely intertwined on this point.”
The mediation goal of the mechanism cannot work unless there is some common ground for agreement between Palestine and Israel, Shu said.
Abbas reiterated on Tuesday his grounds for rejecting the newly released Middle East peace plan, calling it an “Israeli-American proposal” and that it violates principles of international legitimacy.
“I have come to you on behalf of 13 million Palestinians to call for a just peace. That is all. I have come to you today to reaffirm the Palestinian position that rejects the Israeli-American proposal,” Abbas told the UN Security Council, which met to discuss the US plan.
He said that the US “cannot be the sole mediator”, adding that the Palestinians have experienced this before and will not agree to do so again.
The Security Council meeting was requested by Tunisia and Indonesia after Trump on Jan 28 revealed his controversial plan, which calls for a two-state solution while recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided capital”.
Xinhua and Agencies contributed to this story.