In pursuit of peace: The view from Paris
The status quo is dangerous for Israelis and Palestinians alike. The apparent calm is illusory.
Tel Aviv memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in 2001 Photo: Havakuk Levison/Reuters
Fatalism may prevail, skepticism may dominate. Twenty years of failures of
summits and empty promises have left their marks.
Those who wanted peace
all the way sometimes paid with their lives, such as Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak
Barriers and differences, far from diminishing with time, remain
alive and kicking.
We do not come across any more Israelis in Ramallah
than Palestinians in Tel Aviv. Ignorance, too, undermines hope.
and terrorism have dealt a blow to the bodies and minds of the people, killing
their beliefs and hardening the hearts of the most faithful and
Should we conclude that nothing can be done, that the
situation is not ripe? This would be, I think, a huge mistake.
quo is dangerous for Israelis and Palestinians alike. The apparent calm is
For these two peoples, there is no other solution than a
divorce, in order to establish reconciliation one day on an equal footing, in a
The formula is certainly not new, but it has now become
a matter of urgency.
There is no alternative to the construction of two
states for two peoples, as presidents François Hollande and Shimon Peres
recalled last Friday in Paris.
Existential security needs of the Jewish
people, whose tragic story haunts the conscience of each of us, as well as the
legitimate call for freedom and sovereignty of the Palestinian people, subject
to occupation and colonization, need to be answered.
Of course, nothing
is simple. The roots of the conflict are not only territorial, they are also
The outlines of a solution are known approximately, but
peace is in the details, especially for those who live here.
the painful sacrifices that a solution requires, to take on the inherent risks,
everybody has to be convinced that it is both fair and sustainable, that it puts
a real end to the conflict, and that it guarantees the independence and
viability of a Palestinian state as well as Israel’s security.
region in turmoil, deprived of its usual points of reference, mutual trust has
to be built up, suspicion has to be silenced.
The involvement of the
international community is legitimate and necessary.
Jerusalem is central
to the three monotheistic religions; the Mediterranean is our common basin.
Nobody is able to impose peace, but nobody intends to walk away from this
Global support is more than useful; it is indispensable – not for
the purpose of negotiating an agreement on all final-status issues on behalf of
the parties, but to ensure the security of Israel as well as a viable and
sovereign Palestinian state.
It is the world’s task to aid peace, and to
lead people, if necessary, to enforce it.
As a friend of Israel and the
future Palestine, France is determined to help revive peace efforts in the
European Union, alongside the United States and states of goodwill in the
Europeans will spare no effort to work with the new Israeli
government and the Palestinian Authority towards the longawaited resumption of
the peace process.
The upcoming visit of President Barack Obama to
Jerusalem and Ramallah underlines the American involvement in the region. Let us
all hope that this visit will enable a renewal of substantive and authentic
discussion between Israelis and Palestinians over their common
The writer is the French Ambassador to Israel.