This flag is a strong symbol, a beacon of hope for the Palestinian people [fr]
Palestinian flag at the United Nations – Explanation of vote by François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations – General Assembly – 10 September 2015
France voted in favor of the resolution before us today which authorizes non-member observer states to raise their flags at the UN after those belonging to member states.
This vote is first of all a vote in support of the two-state solution, which must continue to serve as a compass that guides all of us; it guides France more than ever. France therefore chose consistency. Before the Knesset in 1982, President Mitterrand called for the creation of a Palestinian state. Since then, France has not deviated from this path; at every stage it has supported efforts to enhance the status of Palestine. In 2011, France voted in favor of admitting Palestine as a member of UNESCO. In 2012, France voted in favor of the resolution establishing Palestine as a non-member observer state of our organization.
Allowing Palestine to raise its flag at the UN is a further step in this direction. France had a duty to step up to the mark once again to signal our attachment to the Palestinians’ right to a state, to signal our attachment to the two-state solution, a solution that’s now in jeopardy. Similarly, France takes every opportunity to reaffirm its attachment to Israel’s right to exist and to live in security. We agree that this vote is primarily symbolic. But symbols are essential in politics, especially for the Palestinian people who should not be in despair for their future. This flag is therefore a strong symbol, a beacon of hope.
Let’s have the courage and the clear-sightedness to see that, unfortunately, every additional day takes us further away from the two-state solution. The continuation of illegal settlement activity directly threatens it.
This lack of political perspective is not only unfair to the Palestinian people; it is dangerous for Israel, for the other states in the region, for the EU and for the world. It fuels despair and breeds violence.
We must therefore be clearheaded. The negative and dangerous spiral taking place before our eyes only serves the interests of the parties. It can only stir up hatred and extremism on which the terrorists - especially Daesh - feed. In this troubling context, we must therefore take every opportunity to reaffirm the hope that the two-state solution represents.
France believes that this conflict can only resolved by the creation of an independent, viable, and democratic Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel.
Even though we recognize the importance of symbols, we cannot be satisfied with gestures alone. Given the seriousness of the situation, symbols are no longer enough. All that counts is action. France is more convinced of this than ever; for more than a year now it has been trying to restore a future to the Palestinians, to restore a credible momentum. The peace process that we’ve been pursuing for 20 years has failed. Everyone agrees.
In France’s view, credible and strong action must be based on two complementary pillars. In the short term, this involves strengthening the commitment of the international community through international assistance for the peace process that complements the Quartet and increases its capacity to build a consensus. It then involves defining a framework for future negotiations, to which the Security Council should contribute at the appropriate time.
The 70th UN General Assembly should mark the launch of the first pillar of this action with the establishment of an international support group involving other partners alongside the members of the Quartet, namely the permanent members of the Security Council and certain Arab and European countries.
Inaction is not an option; it poses a risk of major destabilization. France stresses the importance of action and the convergence of efforts by the community of nations in support of a shared goal, the two-state solution, for peace and justice. That’s the reason for our vote today. And that’s the reason for France’s continued commitment.