Middle East: We are at a pivotal point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [fr]
STATEMENT BY MR. NICOLAS DE RIVIERE,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
=Translation from French=
New York, 18 November 2020
I thank the Special Coordinator for his briefing.
I, too, wish to express my condolences to the relatives of Saeb Erekat and to the Palestinian people and to pay tribute to the commitment of this tireless advocate of the Palestinian cause and ardent defender of peace.
We are at a pivotal point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is more urgent than ever to relaunch a momentum towards peace.
The parameters of its settlement are well-known: two states, living in peace and security, within secure and recognized borders based on the 1967 lines, both with Jerusalem as their capital. They have been defined with the aim of bringing a fair and lasting peace to the region. They make it possible to guarantee the security of Israel and to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, in accordance with international law.
It is now up to the parties to define the framework for their negotiations in order to resume their discussions with the support of the international community.
France stands ready to work to relaunch this process in close coordination with all its partners. It calls for an end to all unilateral measures jeopardizing the two-State solution.
We are concerned about the proliferation of settlement expansion projects and the record number of demolitions of Palestinian structures, including those financed by the European Union and its Member States. These measures come after the signing of the normalization agreements between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, which could enable the beginning of a positive dynamic for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
France condemned new announcements concerning the building of more than 1,200 housing units in the Israeli settlement of Givat HaMatos in East Jerusalem. The expansion of this settlement undermines the viability of a future Palestinian state, as repeatedly recalled by the European Union. It also condemned the demolition on November 3 by the Israeli authorities of the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa in the West Bank.
We once again call on the Israeli authorities to reverse their decisions on settlements and to halt all demolitions, particularly the village of Khan al Ahmar and the school in Ras al Tin, in accordance with its obligations as an occupying Power.
The suspension of annexation projects must become a definitive measure and must not be replaced by annexation through increasing faits accomplis on the ground, which would be tantamount to a de facto annexation of Palestinian territories.
France calls on the parties to create conditions conducive to the resumption of discussions.
This is the point of the continued efforts of Minister Le Drian, in coordination with his German, Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts. Restoring confidence requires gradual commitments from both sides. We welcome the announcement of a resumption of coordination between Israelis and Palestinians, and in part the reaffirmation by Israel of its commitment to past bilateral agreements. This cooperation can lead to a better response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This requires a revival of inter-Palestinian reconciliation. It is important that the elections announced by President Abbas at the General Assembly in September are not postponed again. All parties must play their part to advance peace. The parties who must show courage, the United Nations and its agencies, including UNRWA, which must be supported politically and financially, and every member of the international community, which must play its part.
You can count on France to contribute tirelessly to this collective effort.