Grave threats weigh on the two-state solution [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 20 September 2019
First of all, I would like to welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Jordan and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Palestine to our debate. I thank Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov for his informative briefing. His presentation of the eleventh report on the implementation of resolution 2334 (2016) again draws our attention to the gravity of the situation, in particular with regard to the issue of colonization. Ahead of the meetings to be held under resolution 2334 (2016), I would again like to thank the Secretariat for granting our request for regular written reports. They are essential tools for documenting the issue of colonization, as well as that of violence, and for guiding the work of the Council.
The threats to the two-State solution are of great concern.
Announcements concerning the possible annexation of some areas in the West Bank, in particular the Jordan Valley, the northern coast of the Dead Sea and, eventually, the settlements on the West Bank are very worrisome.
If implemented, such measures would constitute not only a serious and unprecedented violation of international law, but would also provoke instability in the region by exacerbating tensions and fuelling extremism of all forms. We therefore call on the parties to refrain from any action that is at variance with international law and that would jeopardize the viability of the two-State solution. Together with our European partners, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, including any move towards annexation, and act accordingly.
Ongoing colonization is also a cause for deep concern for France. We have condemned the decisions taken by the Israeli authorities in August to allow the construction of 2,300 housing units in the West Bank. We also condemn the decision by the Israeli Government on 15 September, under Israeli law, to legalize the illegal settlement in the Jordan Valley.
As reaffirmed by resolution 2334 (2016), settlement activity is illegal; it serves to heighten tensions. By undermining the viability of the two-State solution, it jeopardizes the conditions for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and must stop. In that regard, I thank the Special Coordinator for his quarterly briefing on the implementation of resolution 2334 (2016).
Lastly, the deterioration of the situation in recent weeks in Gaza — where the firing of rockets into Israel has resumed and several more demonstrators have been killed — sparks fear of a further escalation. We call on all parties to show the utmost restraint. We reiterate our condemnation of the firing of rockets from Gaza into the occupied areas of Israel, as well as of the disproportionate use of force against Palestinian demonstrators. Those developments come against the backdrop of the deadlock in intra-Palestinian reconciliation, despite Egypt’s efforts, which I welcome, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation, including a shortage of medicines and the crisis in the health-care system. The support of the international community, in particular for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, is essential. However, there will be no lasting improvement in the situation in Gaza without a political solution, involving the return of the Palestinian Authority and the lifting of the blockade, along with credible guarantees for Israel, whose security, I repeat, is not negotiable.
In that regard, the imminent session of the General Assembly should be an opportunity for us to reaffirm our collective commitment to the parameters agreed upon by the international community and to Security Council resolutions.
The objective must remain that of a Palestinian State, living in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, within secure and internationally recognized borders drawn on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States. France stands ready to support any peace effort in that context.
Any attempt to deviate from those internationally agreed and collectively defined parameters would be doomed to failure. It could also lead to regional destabilization, as there is no viable alternative to the two-State solution. None of the two peoples can sustainably satisfy its aspirations to the detriment of the other.
The path to lasting peace requires a two-State solution. As a friend of Israel and Palestine alike, France remains more determined than ever to support them on that path.