Israel Working to Counter Paris Mideast Conference

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israeli officials are not just wringing their hands over the upcoming Paris Mideast conference on January 15 — they are doing something about it.

Diplomats around the world are pursuing a two-track approach: To persuade countries not to attend, and those who do attend not to pass a resolution that could then be brought before the U.N. Security Council, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told ambassadors to European countries in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that Israel’s policy is to seek to head off such an outcome.

“We are asking countries not to take part in this charade,” one government official said of the Paris conference. “We are saying that this is not fruitful, and that they should consider their actions.”

“We are not threatening anyone not to go to Paris,” another diplomat said. “But we are explaining why we think this is detrimental” to the diplomatic process.

This was apparently a reference to the formal rebuke meted out by Israel to the ambassadors of the countries that voted against it on Dec. 23.

However, there were no details forthcoming on exactly how Israel will maneuver, or what it will do if the worst-case scenario occurs.

About 70 countries are expected to attend the conference, which will take place just five days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. A day after the Paris meeting, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, comprising the ministers of the 28 EU countries, is scheduled to meet in Brussels and may also issue a statement on the Middle East.