Statement by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France, at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

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May 29, 2024

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Mr. Wennesland for his briefing, and reiterate France’s full support to him.

France calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. It reaffirms its opposition to the Israeli military operation underway in Rafah, which has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. This operation must cease without delay.

On Monday, President Macron expressed his indignation at the recent Israeli strikes, which have caused numerous civilian casualties.

In accordance with the order of the International Court of Justice, Israel must “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah governorate”. The Israeli authorities must also ” maintain open the Rafah crossing for unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance”.

France demands the immediate release of all hostages still held by Hamas and other terrorist groups. It deplores the death of one of the three French hostages.

France has repeatedly condemned the terrorist attacks of October 7. It also condemns the Hamas rocket attacks that targeted the Tel Aviv region and central Israel last week.

It is essential that massive humanitarian aid reaches the civilian population of Gaza. All crossings must be opened without delay.

France strongly condemns the Hamas attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing, as well as the attacks on a Jordanian aid convoy by Israeli settlers on May 7. We call on the Israeli authorities to put an end to settler violence against aid convoys and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

We also recall that the delivery of aid must not be hindered, and that it must benefit the civilian population. France calls for strict compliance with international humanitarian law, and recalls the imperative need to protect civilians and humanitarian personnel.

It has used the maritime corridor to deliver aid to the people of Gaza. But this cannot replace the delivery of aid by land. As the International Court of Justice has done, France calls on Israel to immediately reopen the Rafah crossing.

France is deeply concerned by the situation in the West Bank and, more broadly, in the region.

We deplore the consequences of the military operation in the Jenin refugee camp. France reiterates the importance of respecting the principle of distinction between the civilian population and combatants.

Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, contrary to international law, continues apace. President Macron condemned the new settlement announcements and the undermining of the disengagement law, and stressed his determination to strengthen sanctions in this area, including at European level.

France condemns the violence committed by certain settlers against the Palestinian population. They must be brought to justice for their actions.

France is mobilized to avoid a regional conflagration. We call for de-escalation, particularly on both sides of the Blue Line.

Mr. President,

The Security Council has already adopted three resolutions on the cessation of fighting and the delivery of humanitarian aid. These resolutions are binding and must be respected. The Security Council must speak out urgently on the situation in Rafah and call for a halt to the offensive.

It must also work towards the two-state solution, which is the only one capable of giving Israelis and Palestinians alike a prospect of peace. France will continue to work towards this goal with its international partners and the Arab Contact Group, which the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs hosted in Paris on May 24. On this occasion, President Macron reiterated France’s support for a strengthened Palestinian Authority and its return to the Gaza Strip, which should become part of the Palestinian state, with the support of the international community. The United Nations has a central role to play here.

The draft resolution we are proposing addresses these political dimensions, and I call on all members of the Security Council to support it.

Thank you.

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