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Twenty-second Ambassadors’ Conference/Israel/Palestinian Territories

Published on August 29, 2014
Opening speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Paris, August 28,2014


This is the third crisis in Gaza in six years – after those of 2008 and 2012 – but it is also the most deadly (more than 2,200 dead).

A ceasefire has now been negotiated in Cairo. I want to applaud all those who contributed to it. France did its part. Commitments were made by each party. They must be implemented strictly, precisely and rigorously, because Gaza must not remain an armed base for Hamas or an open-air prison for its inhabitants. There must be progress towards a gradual lifting of the blockade and a demilitarization of the territory.

There too, France made proposals to ensure international monitoring of the destruction of the tunnels, to secure the reopening of checkpoints between Gaza on one hand and Israel and Egypt on the other, and to give the Palestinian Authority the means to respond to the humanitarian crisis and once again – yes, once again – undertake the rebuilding of Gaza.

That is the path of peace, and it must be embarked upon again as swiftly as possible. Everyone already knows the conditions and parameters. I will repeat them: a democratic and viable Palestinian state living side by side with the State of Israel in security. But clearly, the formulas are finally running out. Negotiations on negotiations are no longer enough, insofar as they never end. We must still give them a chance, and that is the responsibility of the stakeholders. But it will be up to the international community to take the initiative.

The role of the United States is decisive. But so is that of Europe: it must act and utilize the full potential, for example, of the Arab peace initiative. It hasn’t sufficiently been taken into account since 2002. It is Europe that is doing much to rebuild and develop Palestine. It is Europe that must apply pressure to the various parties, rather than simply being a complaints desk they turn to to salve the wounds of recurrent conflicts. (…)./.

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