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Israel/Palestinian Territories

Published on August 21, 2014
Interview given by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, to the daily newspaper Le Monde
Paris, August 21, 2014


Q. – The war in Gaza has killed 2,000 people – some 1,900 of them Palestinians. In your statement on 7 July, at the very beginning of the war, you appeared to give Israel carte blanche. Would you do the same today?

THE PRESIDENT – I’ve spoken out throughout this conflict and reiterated our principles, which are unchanging: Israel’s security, the protection of civilians and the need to find a solution for Gaza. This is a key moment. France supports Egypt’s mediation. The ceasefire is extremely fragile, as we’ve unfortunately seen in recent hours. In any case, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority must be regarded as the main interlocutor. Gaza can’t remain in the situation we’ve seen. The goal must be demilitarization and, at the same time, a lifting of the blockade.

Q. – Do you mean disarmament by Hamas?

THE PRESIDENT – Demilitarization can be carried out only under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. France, together with Europe, can play a useful role on the lifting of the Rafah blockade. France will take part in the conference on Gaza’s reconstruction and will make the following obvious point: Gaza must be neither a prison camp nor a military base. Otherwise the same cycle of cause and effect will continue.

Q. – Laurent Fabius has talked about “imposing” a solution. Should pressure be exerted on Israel?

THE PRESIDENT – We must do everything to ensure the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel resume, so as to find a way forward. We know the parameters, [including] the solution of two states living in security side by side, which is the only one with a future. In the event of failure, the international community will have to shoulder its responsibilities. (…)./.

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