Mr. President of the General Assembly, Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Ministers, Ambassadors, Dear Colleagues,
By voting today to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state within this organization, France has voted for the two-State solution – two States for two peoples, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within secure and internationally recognized borders; a solution it advocated before the rest of the international community came on board; a solution that is now jeopardized by the deadlock in the peace process.
It is a clear, consistent choice.
Back in 1982, President François Mitterrand called for the establishment of a Palestinian State before the Knesset, in Jerusalem. Since then, France has spared no effort to promote this solution. It was in keeping with this legacy that in 2012, President François Hollande pledged to support international recognition for the Palestinian State.
France could not miss this opportunity, which is a new step toward the two-State solution; France could not fail to hear President Abbas’s call for the revival of a credible peace process; it could not fail, just a few days after the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza, to grant its full support for the partners of peace when advocates of the armed struggle were attempting to gain the upper hand.
The Palestinian initiative comes at a difficult time and its repercussions could be significant. But France calls on all parties to understand and acknowledge its critical importance and to respond by the resumption of negotiations and not by reprisals that would serve only the play in the hand of extremists. France also calls on the international community – Americans, Europeans, Arabs –to unite in this view.
France also urges the Palestinians to build on this political success by contributing to the prospects for peace. Contributing to the prospects for peace means continuing to combat terrorism and taking all necessary measures to end the attacks against Israel; it means moving forward, on the basis of the PLO’s commitments, on inter-Palestinian reconciliation, without which the two-State solution is merely an illusion. Contributing to the prospects for peace means, first and foremost, returning to the negotiating table immediately and without preconditions; and finally, it means avoiding a new cycle of sterile confrontations within international forums.
Because the hardest part still lies ahead of us, ahead of them. This vision of two States for two peoples remains to be translated into reality. The international recognition granted today by this Assembly for the project of a Palestinian state can become a reality only within the framework of a just and comprehensive peace, a peace settlement that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of Israel and Palestine. This is a challenge facing not only the two governments and two peoples, but the international community as well. France is prepared to meet it as a friend of Israel and a friend of Palestine.
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.