Q - Israel has announced the construction of a further 3,000 housing units in the illegal settlements of the occupied West Bank; this is the third such announcement in a week. What are the prospects for French efforts – and indeed international efforts after January 15 – to relaunch a process of balanced negotiations in this context? Do we have to resign ourselves on an ongoing basis to Israel’s illegal settlement policy or is there an appropriate response on the part of France, Europe or the international community?
A - The Israeli authorities yesterday announced the decision to approve 3,000 additional housing units in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The equivalent of 6,000 housing units have been announced in the space of a week, i.e. double the number of projects approved in the whole of 2016.
France strongly condemns this decision. It again reaffirms that settlement activities are in violation of international law, notably UNSCR 2334, and seriously undermine the prospects for just and lasting peace.
On January 15 in Paris, 75 countries and international organizations reaffirmed that the two-state solution remained the only way to bring just and lasting peace to the Middle East. They therefore called on the parties to concretely demonstrate a genuine commitment to this solution and to refrain from any unilateral action.