RAMALLAH, September 11 (JMCC) - European countries, particularly France, are working with Palestinians to guide their bid for statehood at the United Nations, convinced that the peace process begun at Oslo over a decade ago has run its course.
Meanwhile, Israel is horrified, reports the New York Times
, and threatening to annex land in the West Bank or rescind VIP treatment of Palestinian officials.
[A] complex set of diplomatic endeavors is under way to slow down or at least shape the U.N. process. There is little optimism accompanying the effort.
Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who represents the Quartet -- the diplomatic group focused on the Middle East that is made up of the U.S., European Union, U.N. and Russia -- is looking for a new basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He hopes that a Quartet statement will cushion or shift the membership bid toward talks. The Israelis are grateful, the Palestinians annoyed. Officials from most other countries are skeptical.
Americans want to preserve the existing paradigm, a diplomat from another country said. But many are saying to them: 'You are living in the last century. Nothing has happened in that paradigm. It's time to move on.'
Prominent among those voices are the French, whose officials, including President Nicolas Sarkozy, have privately said that the Oslo peace process, begun in the Norwegian capital in 1993 and the framework for Israeli-Palestinian interactions since, has run its course. It is time, they say, for state-to-state negotiations between Israel and a prospective Palestine.
French diplomats are trying to help the Palestinians shape a U.N. resolution that describes statehood on the 1967 lines, along with agreed land swaps with Israel.