Remarks by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN, at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Gaza

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July 2, 2024

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Ms Kaag for her presentation. I would like to once again express France’s full support for her work, and call for the complete implementation of Security Council resolutions 2712, 2720, 2728 and 2735.

Ms. Kaag’s presentation confirms the catastrophic nature of the situation in Gaza. There is no glimmer of hope. The number of civilian casualties is rising inexorably. The population needs help to survive. Famine has set in, 80% of civilian infrastructure damaged or destroyed, including 95% of educational infrastructures. Thousands of children are dead, missing, trapped under rubble, detained and isolated. An entire generation of children is deprived of an education and will be traumatized in the long run.

It is therefore essential to lift all impediments to humanitarian access. Assistance must be able to use all crossing points. France calls on Israel to reopen the Rafah crossing immediately. It reiterates its call on Israel to take all necessary measures to ensure the provision of basic services and humanitarian aid throughout the Gaza Strip. Israel must allow immediate, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, as requested by the International Court of Justice. This implies issuing the necessary permits to all humanitarian programs and agencies, including UNRWA.

I would like to thank Special Coordinator Kaag for setting up an aid coordination mechanism, to ensure that goods entering Gaza correspond to the real needs, and that they reach their beneficiaries. While increasing volumes is a necessity, it is essential that goods can be transported throughout the Gaza Strip and distributed safely.

There are still many restrictions on what can enter Gaza, particularly for health infrastructure, water and sanitation, and waste treatment infrastructures. It is essential that the UN and humanitarian actors have access to suitable equipment to carry out their operations and prevent the situation from worsening. With the heat, the risk of epidemics spreading will lead to many more civilian victims.

The protection of humanitarian workers must also be guaranteed in all circumstances. This Council made a further commitment in May, with Resolution 2730. This is a moral and legal imperative incumbent on all. France pays tribute to all the humanitarian personnel killed in Gaza. The laws of war and the humanitarian principles of precaution and proportionality in the conduct of hostilities must be respected. We call on all actors to guarantee the effectiveness of deconfliction mechanisms. In this respect, the coordinating role of the United Nations is essential.

France demands an immediate ceasefire, and the release of all hostages. France once again condemns the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023. France is opposed to the current operation in Rafah. In accordance with the order of the International Court of Justice, Israel must ” halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate”. France will remain committed to finding a way out of the crisis based on a two-state solution. We need security guarantees for the Israelis. We must work to build a state for the Palestinians. A reformed Palestinian Authority will have a central role to play in this process, both in the West Bank and in Gaza, which should become part of this Palestinian state. It is urgent to act in this direction.

Thank you.


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