13 July 2016 - Middle East: The two-State solution will disappear [fr]
Middle East - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 13 July 2016
France has for several months noted a trend that, unfortunately, has been increasingly confirmed. The status quo does not exist. It is but an illusion cloaking a daily backslide that we cannot accept. Given the humanitarian consequences of the situation on Palestinian and Israeli civilians, we must recognize the harsh reality on the ground that, if nothing is done, the fragile prospects of the two-State solution will disappear and the risk of widespread conflagration will grow.
The Quartet report presented to the French presidency of the Security Council strengthened our assessment of the situation, based on two elements. The first is that the two-State solution is sorely threatened with disappearance. We must have the courage to say so. While there is enough blame for this to go around, the Quartet report unequivocally confirms that Israeli settlement is one of the main threats to the very sustainability of a future Palestinian State. Acts of violence, incitement to violence and terrorism also undermine the prospect of two States — a State of Israel and a Palestinian State — living side by side in peace and security. Progress towards the inter-Palestinian reconciliation is indispensable.
The second element — a mirror of the first — is the need to take steps to preserve the feasibility of the two-State solution through specific action. It would seem indisputable that without the resolute action of the parties and the international community, this solution would give way to other scenarios that would in no way guarantee a just and lasting settlement of the conflict and would, on the contrary, threaten to precipitate armed clashes.
Faced with this relentless conclusion, our message in recent months has focused steadily on the need to recreate a political horizon to save the two-State solution. That is the only way to address the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis to independence and security. The ministerial meeting held in Paris on 3 June marked the first stage of an international mobilization to save the two-State solution. That important meeting gave rise to three complementary advances.
The first is political mobilization in favour of the peace process. For the first time since the Annapolis conference in 2007, an international meeting was held on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That first meeting brought together 29 partners committed to peace. While the peace process has been partially overshadowed by the serious crises in the Middle East, our first goal was to put the conflict at the heart of our collective priorities. The Paris meeting contributed significantly to that end.
The second advance was the collective reaffirmation of support for the two-State solution. In a context in 12/07/2016 The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question S/PV.7736 16-21430 23/58 which the situation continues to deteriorate, our wish was to reiterate that this solution is the only possible outcome to the conflict and to thereby re-establish political prospects capable of halting and reversing the downward spiral that we have seen on the ground. The conclusions arising from the Paris meeting are especially clear on that point.
The third advance obtained in Paris is the promotion of an international commitment to the relaunch and completion of dialogue between the parties. Everyone knows that only the Israelis and Palestinians will be able to make peace, but it is also necessary to recognize that conditions are not ripe today for a resumption of direct negotiations. Our initiative therefore seeks to build a consensus and promote a convergence of initiatives in order to recreate a climate conducive to successful dialogue.
The activities of France and of the Quartet are mutually complementary. Their common objective is to seek the resumption of credible negotiations conducive to reaching a final status solution. The report of the Quartet is an important contribution to the remobilization of the international community on behalf of the peace process. Bearing in mind the eminent role of the Quartet, France and all its partners will therefore pursue its efforts in a flexible and inclusive way. The Paris meeting is only the beginning of a process that still requires a lot of collective efforts in three areas.
We are going to begin by working on the preparation of a package of incentives that could be proposed to the parties in the event of a peace accord, during which time France will play a role of flexible coordination. That work will permit, we hope, the inclusion of several countries that were not present at the Paris meeting. Naturally, all contributions of goodwill will be welcome. Work in various directions has been proposed, in particular economic incentives, the strengthening of Palestinian institutions and links between Israeli and Palestinian civil societies.
That will, in turn, build on other ongoing efforts. In the first place, the implementation of the recommendations of the Quartet report will be essential in promoting rapid improvement on the ground. Moreover, following up on certain considerations in the Arab Peace Initiative, to which the 3 June communiqué assigns a central role, need to be pursued.
Finally, we will continue our dialogue with the parties to prepare the convening at the end of the year of an international conference with the parties.
France is, of course, aware of the difficulties posed by this conflict, one in which so many efforts and so much goodwill have failed. We consider, however, that it is our collective responsibility not to give up and never to quit the fight. Our ambition is realistic. We are not claiming to be the only ones able to succeed where others have stumbled. We are urging something in the nature of a coalition for of leveraging our experience and our affiliations with the parties and the region to bring into view a consensual method to construct a substantive agreement for the purpose of progressing in this way towards peace.