18 October 2016 - With each day that passes the two-State solution is further threatened [fr]
Situation in the Middle East - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 18 October 2016
I wish to begin by thanking Mr. Nikolay Mladenov and Mr. Stephen O’Brien for their statements, as well as their commitments.
France has long been aware of the alarming fact that the so-called status quo in the Middle East is deteriorating and is doing so on a daily basis, affecting both populations and peace prospects. With each day that passes, the two-State solution — which, now more than ever, should be our collective guide — is further threatened. Clarity is our first joint responsibility. If nothing is done, the fragile horizon of the two-State solution will simply disappear, giving way to a fait accompli in which Israeli security will not be guaranteed and the legitimate rights of the Palestinians will not be exercised. I wish to reiterate that, for France, the one-State solution is not in anyone’s interest.
At the Arria Formula meeting last Friday, the findings of Council members were unanimous regarding trends that conspire to threaten the two-State solution. The first of those trends is obviously the continuing settlement policy. What is clear is that settlement is the result of a deliberate and structured policy of the Israeli State. Israel is not just approving building plans, but is also ensuring that settlements are viable, sustainable and part of a tightly woven territorial, road, communication and socioeconomic network that over the years, will lead to a fait accompli and erode the territory of the future Palestinian State. Despite calls from the international community and despite the recommendations of the latest Quartet report (S/2016/595, annex) earlier this month, Israel announced the construction of 98 new housing units near the Shilo settlement, thus building a new settlement. The international community has been unanimous in condemning the decision, which contributes to fuelling tensions and makes the prospects of a viable Palestinian State increasingly unlikely.
Furthermore, acts of violence and the incitement to violence and hatred also jeopardize the ability of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to sustainably coexist in peace and security, without even mentioning the regular rocket fire on Israel from Gaza. France condemned the fatal attack in Jerusalem on 13 October and is aware that high levels of tension continue, which can erupt in the blink of an eye, as evidenced last year, and can lead to a rapid escalation of violence.
Finally, it is essential to encourage progress in inter-Palestinian reconciliation in order to end the division of the Palestinian territories, on which the two-State solution also depends. Without Palestinian unity there will be no viable peace agreement. In the light of that unchangeable fact and in order to prevent the cycle of violence that Israel and Palestine experienced in autumn 2015 from happening again, our message in recent months has been constant – political dialogue must be reinitiated and the two-State solution saved. We are convinced that it is the only way of breaking the current deadlock and recreating positive momentum.
This is the thrust of France’s initiative. We must first launch a political mobilization. While the peace process has been partially eclipsed by the serious crises shaking the Middle East, our primary objective is to re-establish the conflict at the heart of the diplomatic agenda.
Our second goal is to collectively and unambiguously reaffirm support for the two-State solution, as it is the only solution that will ensure security for Israel and fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The third goal of the French initiative is to promote international support for the parties through a renewed and collective approach, based on a coherent support and incentive mechanism.
It is obvious that peace cannot be imposed on the parties. But we all must recognize that, under the current conditions, an immediate resumption of direct negotiations is not yet possible, owing to the great mistrust between the parties. Our initiative aims to bring about the conditions, especially political conditions, that will enable a resumption of negotiations, to build consensus around the path to a two-State solution and to promote the convergence of all existing proposals in one direction.
The ministerial meeting held in Paris on 3 June marked the first and essential stage of an international mobilization to save the two-State solution. We will continue efforts, in close coordination with the Quartet and all partners, notably through several working groups that are being established, in order to lay the groundwork for the international conference that France hopes to organize by the end of the year. Our objective is to help the parties understand how peace is in their best interest and how the active support of the international community can assist them, and to get them involved in the next phase of the process. France’s approach is resolutely inclusive, and all goodwill efforts are welcome in this joint effort.
France is committed to ensuring the success of the initiative and to bring the parties to resume negotiations for a peace agreement, on the basis of renewed international support and concrete and encouraging proposals. We call particularly for the support of Security Council members. Let us together shoulder our historic