GAZA / ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT
EXCERPT FROM FRANCOIS HOLLAND’S SPEECH, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, ON THE OCCASION OF THE CONFERENCE OF AMBASSADORS (Paris - August 28).
This is the third crisis in six years – after 2008 and 2012 – but this is also the deadliest one (more than 2,200 dead).
Today, a ceasefire has been reached and negotiated in Cairo. I want to welcome all those who contributed to it. France played its part. All parties have made commitments, which must be strictly, precisely, rigorously implemented, because Gaza can no longer be an army base for Hamas, or an open-air prison for its inhabitants. One should move towards a progressive lifting of the blockade and the demilitarization of the territory.
Here again, France made proposals to insure an international supervision of the tunnel network’s dismantling ; to secure the reopening of crossing points between Gaza on the one hand, Israel and Egypt on the other ; and to enable the Palestinian Authority to address humanitarian needs and to undertake once again, and I insist on "once again", Gaza reconstruction.
We have to find the path to peace. As soon as possible. Everyone knows its conditions and parameters. I repeat them: a democratic and viable Palestinian state living side by side with a State of Israel living in security. But we clearly see that formulas end up fading away. Negotiation for negotiation’s sake is not enough anymore, as it never succeeds. We have to continue giving it a chance and responsibility to that regard lies with all the parties involved. But the international community will have to take the initiative.
The United States’ role is decisive. But Europe’s part is equally important: Europe has to take action and use the whole potential of the Arab peace initiative, for instance, which has not been enough taken into consideration since 2002. Europe is the one doing a lot to rebuild and develop Gaza. Europe should also be putting pressure on each and everyone, and not just be a bank window where we turn to heal the wounds after a recurring conflict.