I want to begin by applauding the Secretary-General and all of the United Nations officials who spoke here today. I welcome their commitment and I want to reaffirm our full support for them. I would also like to pay tribute to the determined and courageous efforts by humanitarian workers on the ground, notably the ICRC, WFP, and UNRWA, which has been seriously impacted by this conflict.
We can only welcome the 72-hour truce that took effect in Gaza on August 5, and the Israeli withdrawal. France pays tribute to the Egyptian mediation effort, which made it possible for this tragedy to finally end. The toll is tragically high, with more than 1,800 deaths on the Palestinian side, including a large majority of civilians, and more than 60 casualties on the Israeli side, nearly all of whom are soldiers. The parties and the international community must now do everything in their power to ensure that this toll does not rise, neither now nor later.
All efforts must now be aimed at achieving a lasting cease-fire. Every opportunity must be taken, during the current truce, to ensure that the Egyptian-led negotiations help create the conditions for such an agreement. France urges the parties to engage fully in this effort. The carnage in Gaza must not resume. Let’s be clear: In order for it to be credible and lasting, this cease-fire must respond to the legitimate needs of Palestine in the areas of reconstruction and economic development, and the legitimate needs of the Israelis in the area of security. To give us the means for a lasting truce, the Gaza question must be dealt with fairly and comprehensively: by easing the embargo, which places great pressure on the Palestinian population; and by preventing arms trafficking, which represents an unacceptable threat to the Israelis. Discussions must focus on these two complementary aspects of a viable solution.
Beyond the necessary and urgent humanitarian relief effort for Gaza and its reconstruction, in which France is engaged, that presumes the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, working in every area and particularly that of security. France applauds the determined and courageous efforts by humanitarian workers on the ground, notably the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA).
In the longer term, the only way to prevent new outbreaks of violence is well known. To achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must give both parties a political horizon. The international community must now create the conditions for a just and final settlement for this conflict, providing for the establishment of two democratic states living side by side in peace and security and within recognized borders. A cease fire, the imposition of a two-state solution, Israel’s security—this threefold track is the only way.
Following the Paris meeting on July 26, France is fully engaged in the efforts to achieve a rapid and lasting solution to the crisis, whose causes are deep-rooted. The United Nations has an important role to play in helping to define the framework for resolving the conflict. It is in this spirit that we will remain mobilized and will continue to work closely with all our partners, including the Security Council. The Security Council must stand ready to shoulder its responsibilities, when the time comes, in conjunction with current regional mediation efforts, to encourage those efforts and to oversee their effective implementation.