Reaffirming the parameters for the two-State solution is essential [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 26 June 2019
I thank Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, for his very detailed and informative briefing and for his quarterly report on the implementation of resolution 2334 (2016).
We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Gaza. The clashes last week once again highlight the fragility of the ceasefire.
After the flare-up in early May and as Gaza remains in a critical situation, we must do everything we can to prevent an escalation that could turn into a new conflict. We therefore call on the parties to exercise the utmost restraint. In that regard, I would like once again to commend the de-escalation efforts of Egypt and the Special Coordinator.
These developments are taking place in the context of a serious humanitarian and political crisis in Gaza. The humanitarian situation is dire. In that context, I reiterate France’s full support for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and we call on all donors to maintain their level of financial commitment this year at the Organization’s donor conference to be held on 25 June. For its part, France has already announced a doubling of its contribution to UNRWA in 2019. Ultimately, there will be no solution in Gaza without the lifting of the blockade accompanied by credible security guarantees for Israel.
Politically, Palestinian unity is now more important than ever. There is therefore an urgent need to relaunch the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process.
As we know, there will be no lasting stability in Gaza without a political solution, including the full return of the Palestinian Authority. Ultimately, the future of Gaza cannot be separated from the objective of establishing two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. There will be no Palestinian State without Gaza and no lasting political solution in the region without a Palestinian State.
That brings me back to the intensification of the settlement policy in the West Bank, which is undermining the foundations and the viability of the two-State solution. Since the beginning of the year, more than 4,500 new housing units have been approved in the West Bank. France is also concerned about the announcement on 30 May by the Israeli authorities of tenders for the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem, including more than 800 housing units. With more than 600,000 settlers, including 200,000 in Jerusalem, we are close to the point of no return. The various initiatives to implement Israeli law in the West Bank are part of a de facto annexation policy. We take those developments all the more seriously as they have been accompanied by worrying statements about the annexation of all or part of the occupied territories. In that regard, I would like to recall that, in accordance with international law and Council resolutions, beginning with resolution 242 (1967), France does not recognize any Israeli sovereignty over any of the occupied territories. And in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, we consider it illegal to acquire territory by force, be it in Jerusalem, the West Bank or the Golan Heights.
If those trends were to continue, it would mean the Palestinians abandoning their national aspirations, which require the establishment of a State, and the Israelis renouncing the democratic nature of the State of Israel. In addition, it is crucial to put an end to hate speech and incitement to violence, which, as the Special Coordinator just recalled, continue and which France condemns.
In that context, it is now more necessary than ever to reaffirm the parameters for the two-State solution agreed by the international community.
In the absence of any political perspective, there may be a temptation to break away from the agreed framework, based on international law and the resolutions of the Council, and to replace it with unilateral decisions. We must all fully appreciate the danger of that temptation.
We noted the holding of an economic workshop in Manama on 25 and 26 June, at the initiative of the United States and Bahrain. As we said, France stands ready to support any effort, including economic, as long as it is in line with the approach that we have defined together: the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian State, genuine conditions for Palestine’s economic recovery and, beyond that, the construction of a stronger and more integrated regional economy. But economic peace cannot replace the pursuit of a genuine political settlement, based on the two-State solution and on all the internationally agreed parameters, which are themselves anchored in international law and the resolutions of the Council.
Any attempt to deviate from those collectively defined parameters would be doomed to failure. There is no viable or realistic alternative. The solution to this conflict is above all a political one.
France, which is a friend of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, has only one objective: the implementation, through negotiations, of the two-State solution and the establishment of fair and lasting peace on the basis of parameters agreed by the international community. We will assess any initiatives taken on that basis.