The confrontations underline the persistence and scale of the crisis in Gaza [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 23 July 2019
At the outset I should like to join others in offering my condolences to Japan and to the Secretary-General, following the passing of Mr. Amano, who was an outstanding leader of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
I would now like to thank Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo for her briefing, which provided us with a concise update on the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
I will focus my remarks today on the threats to the two-State solution and the urgent need for the international community to reaffirm the agreed parameters of the political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
1/ First, I wish to comment on the worrying deterioration of the situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
France condemned yesterday the demolition by the Israeli army of several buildings in the district of Wadi Al-Homs, located in the south-east of Jerusalem. Those demolitions in occupied territories are contrary to international law, in particular international humanitarian law and the relevant Council resolutions. They are occurring for the first time in Areas A and B, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords, and they represent a dangerous precedent that directly undermines the two-State solution. France regrets that the Israeli Government has not heeded the calls of the international community to not proceed with the demolition and solemnly calls on it to suspend the ongoing demolitions as soon as possible.
In the same vein, the policy of colonization under which these demolitions fall continues unabated in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and brings us close to the point of no return. Since the beginning of the year, more than 4,500 new housing units have been approved in the West Bank. In Jerusalem, colonization activities, in particular the implementation of archaeological projects and the increase in the number of demolitions, are continuing and are cause for grave concern. That policy is all the more disturbing because it is compounded by troubling statements about the annexation of all or part of the occupied territories.
France recalls that colonization is contrary to international law, as reaffirmed in resolution 2334 (2016). It contributes to the agitation of tensions on the ground and undermines the conditions for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, based on the two-State solution with Jerusalem as capital. France does not recognize any Israeli sovereignty over any of the occupied territories. In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, we also consider unlawful the acquisition of territory by force, whether in Jerusalem, the West Bank or the Golan Heights.
2/ I would like to come back to the deteriorating security, humanitarian and political situation in Gaza, which continues to be a source of great concern.
Clashes at the end of last week, which left more than 100 Palestinian protesters injured, highlight the persistence and the extent of the crisis we are facing in Gaza. Everything must be done to provide a humanitarian and political response and to prevent the risk of escalation. We once again call on the parties to exercise the utmost restraint and commend in that regard the efforts of Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to avoid the worst-case scenario.
In such a precarious context, mobilizing the support of the international community for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is more critical than ever. The 25 June donor conference has enabled the Agency to use recent funds to ensure the continuity of its assistance programmes, especially in Gaza this summer. France has already announced that it will double its contribution to UNRWA in 2019, as it did in 2018. I urge all donors to maintain or increase their contribution to UNRWA to enable it to continue its programmes, in particular to ensure the start of the school year, and to reaffirm their support for UNRWA’s three-year renewal this fall.
In addition to the issue of humanitarian support, lasting stability in Gaza will be achieved only through a negotiated settlement, which involves on the one hand the full return of the Palestinian Authority and on the other the lifting of the blockade while ensuring credible security guarantees for Israel.
3/ Finally, the future of Gaza cannot be separated from the goal of the establishment of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.In conclusion, I once again reaffirm the validity of the parameters agreed by the international community for the two-State solution.
As we are aware, the solution to the conflict is fundamentally a political one, defined by well-established parameters, while fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of both sides — the establishment of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and within secure and recognized borders, with Jerusalem as the capital. France stands ready to support all efforts, including economic initiatives, as long as they adhere to the guidelines that we have developed together and international law, in particular in accordance with all relevant Security Council resolutions. The establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian State is the key condition for Palestine’s economic take-off and also for building a stronger and integrated regional economy.
Economic peace cannot replace the search for a political settlement. Any attempt to deviate from those collectively defined parameters would be doomed to failure.
Together with its European partners, France will continue to defend the principle of a just and lasting peace, based on parameters agreed by the international community, and to support the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem and in all the Palestinian territories in order to preserve the two-State solution. In addition, France will never compromise on ensuring Israel’s security.