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Paris conference to send Trump a warning over Israel and Palestinians

The international community will send Donald Trump a strong warning that only a two-state solution can solve the Israel-Palestinian crisis, amid signs that the EU is willing to diverge from the US on Israel policy.

A conference in Paris on Sunday of more than 70 countries, organised by the French government and coming five days before Trump is inaugurated, will warn that the two-state solution is under threat and urge both sides in the conflict to resume talks.

It comes as Palestinians expressed concern that Trump advisers endorse the controversial Israeli settlement programme and want to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has warned that such a symbolic move could derail the peace process.

Critics have claimed that the conference, the second organised by the French in less than a year, is pointless, since neither Abbas nor the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will be present.

Netanyahu has called the event futile, rigged and “a relic”, saying: “It’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

The French had at one point hoped the conference might lead to an agreement for Netanyahu and Abbas to meet, but that is off the table.

Instead, Abbas, pleased with the direction of European diplomacy, will meet the French soon after the conference.

In a statement alongside the conference, the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, defended the initiative. “For more than six years, the absence of a peace process has given way to a deceptive status quo,” he said. “Palestinians are seeing their future state shrinking as settlement expansion continues at an unprecedented speed. This, in turn, generates more occupation, since there is never one without the other.”


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