23 December 2016 -Middle East - Historic vote at the Security Council [fr]
Middle East - Explanation of vote by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 23 December 2016
The adoption of resolution 2334 (2016) is an important and in many ways historic moment in the history of the Security Council. It is the first resolution adopted by the Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in eight years. It is the first time that the Security Council has expressed itself so clearly to state the obvious fact that, little by little, Israel settlement building undermines the possibility of building a viable and independent Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel. It was therefore necessary for the Security Council to recall the collective and unanimous devotion of the international community to the two-State solution and to clearly lay out the threats to that solution. Unless we act resolutely to that end, the two-State solution will disappear like a mirage in the desert. There is no credible alternative that could meet the legitimate aspirations of both parties.
Over the past few decades, Israeli settlement-building has undoubtedly accelerated, which only fuels tensions on the ground and exasperates the international community. Settlement-building, which is illegal under international law, is part of a deliberate policy aimed at presenting the population, including the international community, with a fait accompli in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It proceeds in various manifestations, including the expansion of settlements beyond the Green Line, including in East Jerusalem; the de facto annexation of Zone C; forced transfers of population; the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures; restrictions of access and movement; and the building of the wall beyond the 1967 border. This policy is not only illegal under international law, but also threatens the prospects for the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian State, which is the best guarantee for Israeli security and a lasting solution to the conflict. That is the message that France sought to send today by voting in favour of the resolution.
While settlements are the main threat to the two-State solution on the ground, unfortunately it is not the only one. Acts of violence and incitement to violence and terrorism also undermine the chances of seeing two States — Israel and Palestine — peacefully coexist one day. They destroy trust and dialogue between peoples who must find a way to live together. In that regard, resolution 2334 (2016) strongly reiterates its condemnation of all acts of terrorism, incitements to violence and all deliberate attacks on civilians. it calls on the Palestinian Authority to continue to do its utmost to discourage terrorist actions.
Identifying and naming the threats to a two-State solution is important but not enough. It is also necessary to work on recreating, after a two-year impasse, the conditions for resuming negotiations. Like the Palestinians, the Israelis have a vital interest in peace, which can be based only on a two-State solution. That is the aim of the French initiative to try to relaunch the peace process. In that respect, following the important ministerial meeting of 3 June, France decided to organize an international conference on 15 January 2017 in Paris, whose goal will be to introduce the contributions of the international community to relaunch the negotiation process and conclude and implement a peace agreement. We all know, of course, that only the Palestinians and Israelis themselves can achieve peace through direct negotiations.
The resolution that we have adopted today and the Paris international conference represent two sides of the same coin, both aimed at reiterating our shared attachment to the two-State solution and creating conditions conducive to that end. We hope that the resolution and the French initiative will be the first important steps towards relaunching a credible political process that we will need to pursue collectively in the weeks and months ahead. In sum, the resolution is certainly not the end of the road. It is an important and potentially historic step on the difficult and demanding path to peace and security in the Middle East. Let us assume together the heavy responsibility that is incumbent on all of us on that path.