The intensification of Israeli settlement activity is a matter of grave concern [fr]
Middle East - Palestinian Question
Statement by Mr Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 18 December 2019
First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Mladenov for his intervention and Ms. Raemer for her testimony. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the implementation of resolution 2334 (2016) (S/2019/938). Three years after the adoption of the resolution, France regrets that it has not been implemented.The Secretary-General’s report is unequivocal. There is an unprecedented intensification of settlement activities, with decisions affecting more than 22,000 housing units at different stages of the approval process, as well as 8,000 others that have been put out to tender since the adoption of the resolution, in December 2016.France recalls that Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories is contrary to international law.
We are very concerned about ongoing colonisation in areas likely to undermine the territorial continuity of the future Palestinian State, particularly in Gilo. We are concerned about reports of the construction of new housing units in particularly sensitive areas, such as in the Nof Tzion settlement in East Jerusalem and in the former market in Old City of Нebгоn. France deplores the infrastructure works aimed at strengthening integration among all the settlements in the Jerusalem area and between those settlements and central Israel.
The destruction and seizure of Palestinian property have also been on a steep rise this year in East Jerusalem and Zone C. We note with concern the destruction of 26 elements of infrastructure financed by the international community, including by the countries of the European Union, over the past three months. Finally, the repeated announcements by Israeli officials on the annexation of settlements or entire parts of the West Bank are a major source of concern. If implemented, they would constitute a serious violation of international law.
We therefore call on the Israeli authorities to renounce any project leading to faits accomplis that would run counter to the two-State solution. We will remain particularly attentive to developments in the situation and ready to react, in conjunction with our European partners.The situation in Gaza also remains fragile. France has unequivocally condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza into inhabited areas of Israel, in violation of international law. We recall our unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. We have also recalled the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, dignity and security and have deplored the civilian casualties on both sides.
It is now important that the ceasefire reached on 14 November through the efforts of Egypt and the Special Coordinator be fully respected.Beyond the need to respect the ceasefire, there will be no lasting stability in Gaza without a lifting of the blockade paired with credible security guarantees for Israel or without the return of the Palestinian Authority, in the context of inter-Palestinian reconciliation. The holding of credible Palestinian elections in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem would be an essential step towards inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the strengthening of Palestinian institutions established pursuant to the Oslo Accords. In that context, I call on the Palestinian authorities to continue their efforts to that end and reiterate our readiness to support them in those efforts.
I would like to recall that there is no alternative to an agreement negotiated by the parties on the basis of internationally agreed parameters. Only the two-State solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States, will fulfil the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians by enabling them to live side by side in peace and security and bring lasting peace to the region. Any solution that deviates from the parameters agreed by the international community would necessarily be doomed to failure.There is no status quo on the ground but, rather, a deterioration of the situation that is unsustainable in the long term; that is not in the interest of either party. It contributes to increased tensions, undermines the two-State solution and postpones lasting peace, which can only fuel despair and the temptation of extremism.
The mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will remain crucial until a lasting peace that provides a just, realistic and lasting solution to the refugee issue is found. In that regard, France welcomes the renewal of the Agency’s mandate for three years and calls for a surge in international mobilization to make up its financial deficit by the end of the year. For its part, France doubled its contribution to UNRWA this year.Three years after the adoption of resolution 2334 (2016), it is time to implement it. The credibility of the Security Council and of us all depend on it. In that connection, the Secretary-General’s report refers to the decision of the European Court of Justice of 12 November on the labelling requirement for products from the occupied Palestinian territories and Israeli settlements. The labelling measures meet the requirement of resolution 2334 (2016) to introduce a differentiation policy. France will continue to engage to ensure the implementation of the resolution