by Osama Radi and Emad Drimly
RAMALLAH, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian observers say Israel's objection to an international peace conference, expected in Paris later this month, poses a real threat to make the event a failure but could not undermine its political significance to the Palestinians.
They believe that the conference will open the door for wider recognition of the Palestinian state based on the two-state solution.
The peace conference is expected to be held in Paris on Jan. 15, attended by 70 foreign ministers and UN organizations, though no representatives of Palestinians or Israelis would be present.
Paris last hosted an international ministerial meeting on June 3, attended by the foreign ministers of 25 countries, including four Arab countries, who debated the revival of the stalled peace process between Israel and Palestine.
That meeting was held based on an initiative launched by France, a few months before, to hold an international conference to look into an international mechanism to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu said the "Paris conference is aimless."
In response, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said Wednesday that the party opposing the holding of the Paris international peace conference is the one that is considering "aimlessness, violence and bloodshed."
Political analyst Hani Al-Masri said the scheduled peace conference in Paris "comes at a crucial time in light of Israel's unprecedented escalation in settlement construction, land grab and Judaization of Palestinian lands."
Al-Masri pointed out that the Paris conference comes after the U.S. election but before President Barak Obama hands over to President-elect Donald Trump, who is believed to support Israel's settlement policy and once said would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Al-Masri warned that "large settlement blocs would serve to annex land in the West Bank."
On Dec. 23, the UN Security Council voted in favor of a resolution that condemns Israeli settlement construction and calls on Israel to halt its settlement activity in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinians considered the resolution a historic victory that could represent an international reference for the Paris conference, enhancing the international community's position toward the two-state solution.
George Giacaman, director of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, considered Israel's opposition to the Paris peace conference as a predetermined threat to prevent the conference from succeeding and to limit the realization of Palestinian goals on the ground.
Giacaman said the French initiative to hold an international peace conference is mainly focused on filling the current political void, and that Israel's rejection weakens the chances of reaching a settlement for the conflict within a limited timeframe.
Giacaman warned that if the Paris conference fails, there could be more flagrant conflicts in the region.
The Paris conference comes against the backdrop of an ongoing wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has killed over 340 Palestinians, one Jordanian and over 40 Israelis since October 2015, according to Palestinian official data.
Peace talks between Israel and Palestinians have been stalled since April 2014, when U.S-sponsored negotiations collapsed after nine months of futile efforts.
Political analyst Mohammad Daraghmeh said the Paris conference is politically important for the Palestinians to once again promote their cause on the international arena.
The conference will pave the way for more countries to recognize the Palestinian state, Daraghmeh said.
"What matters... in Paris is the position of the Europeans and other international groups, which would assemble political capital for Palestinians for the coming phases," said Daraghmeh.
He said that the conference would at least result in an international demand for Israel to return to the negotiation table on the basis of the two-state solution.
The Paris conference "is not expected at all to bring an immediate solution to the Palestinian question, but would be a push for Palestinian political efforts, aiming to seek an international reference for the peace resolution," Daraghmeh said.