Israel - Palestinian Territories - Daech - Press Release of Mr. Laurent Fabius, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (New York, 29/06/2015)
About Israel and Palestine. When was it? I think it was two weeks ago or one week ago. I went to the Middle East and I had a meeting with series of leaders. First, some envoys of the Arab League, then the President of Egypt, then the King of Jordan, then President Abbas and then Prime Minister Netanyahu. Each of them had the same words: the Israeli-Palestinian question is not solved and it is very dangerous. On the one hand, there is no justice for Palestinians and where there is no justice there is no real peace. And on the other hand, the security of Israel is not ensured and it is not normal, it is not fair.
Today not many people are speaking about this question, Israel-Palestinian, but our assessment is that at any moment it can explode. If and when it explodes this is very, very, very problematic for the whole region and for the world because it is a basic question. Moreover, be careful because at a moment or another, Daesh can interfere with all that. Therefore we and it is a tradition of France which obviously is keen about security and peace - it is the first element of our foreign policy and it is one of the reasons why we are a permanent part of the Security council and as a permanent member - we want to discuss with all the actors and know if it is possible to move forward. What does it mean move forward? We try that the two parts come back to negotiation, because there has to be negotiation between the Palestinians and the Israelis. I asked what the opinion of the Palestinians and the Israeli about it was. Second, we think that taking into consideration the past, if we want to get to a conclusion, it will be necessary to have an international accompanying body because there have been periods of time where there was no negotiation, there have been periods of time where there was a negotiation but there never was a conclusion to negotiation. Why? Because it is very difficult for each party to make the last concessions which make it possible to have a conclusion. We think that an international body, including the Arabs, which is not the case today with the quartet because they are not in even though they have proposed a plan in 2002, is interesting. It could be an idea in order to facilitate the solution, not to impose because obviously the negotiation has to be considered by the parties to help.
We discussed too of a possible UN resolution at what time or the other. We discussed that, there was a very positive welcome on the Arab side, and particularly on the Palestinian side. With Mr. Netanyahu, it was more difficult because obviously he said «we don’t want an international diktat». I said to him «well diktat is not a French name» and nobody wants a diktat, at least not us because we know what the realities are, but on the other hand, if there is no peace, no real peace, it is a menace to Israel as well, and we are good friends of the Palestinians and the Israelis as well. It is always a good thing to work for peace, which is the case for France. That is about it.
Q - On Israel-Palestine, do you have an idea when France will go forward with the resolution at the Security Council?
R - Well the resolution, the focus has been put on this but the resolution is a tool, it is not an end by itself. We have to discuss that with the different parties and the first thing is this question of getting back to negotiation and having this international accompanying body. And if the resolution is necessary we will think about it. But you know be careful, all that is terribly difficult because this issue has been examined for 50 years. Nobody can say «I have the solution on that», that would be ridiculous. France is keen about not abandoning this problem because it is a very, very, very serious problem. Once more, when you see the reality on the ground and the problem itself you must think about the future and to avoid in this region with already a lot of difficulty to have an explosion in those circumstances. You never waste your time when you are working for peace.
Q - If the resolution is one tool as you say, just for the negotiations, is there possibly another tool that you’re thinking about? An international accompanying body like the quartet body including Arab parties?
R - It could be a quartet plus, a sort of quartet plus. This idea has been discussed by many people and I don’t want to go into the technicalities but it makes sense - everybody must acknowledge - that the Arabs who are part of the region and who are interested in the solution would be involved. It is reasonable.
Q - Do you believe you can persuade the Israelis that a quartet plus is in their interest?
R - I will not negotiate directly with you I am sorry.
Q - You said that Daesh might interfere. What is your nightmare scenario?
R - You know in Gaza the situation is very difficult. I don’t know if you have been in Gaza but it is very very difficult and there is a position of the Hamas, there are more radical people, the people themselves. And when you have such a difficult solution, every radical group can try and take advantage of this and obviously it would be highly damageable if the most radical of the radicals could take a pretext.
Q - Last time you were you said that France would push to have the Security Council the Islamic State to the ICC. What has happened to that?
R - What we have done is to put them on the list of the criminal organizations. And everybody agrees that they are murderers. Now it’s not mainly today a question of legal tools, it’s a question of fighting them directly and indirectly, and mainly a legal aspect. But we have not changed our mind.