On 18 October 2010, the Security Council held its quarterly public debate on the Middle East, in the presence of representatives of Israel and Palestine. In his statement, the Representative of France urged for the resumption of direct negotiations in order to achieve “the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State, living in peace alongside Israel in secure and recognized borders”. He called for extending the Israeli moratorium on settlement constructions, insisting that “settlement activity is illegal, it compromises the two-State solution a little more every day”. Regarding the situation in Gaza, he reiterated France’s call for “the immediate opening of the crossing points in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach the civilian population and allow the economy to develop”. The French Permanent Representative also recalled France’s proposal to organize a second donors’ conference for the Palestinian State.
On 19 January 2011, at the quarterly public debate on the situation in the Middle East, the permanent representative of France noted, following the report submitted by Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, that the peace process in the Middle East was once again deadlocked despite multiple efforts. Gérard Araud stressed that reaching an agreement "on all the issues of the final status in view of the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable and democratic Palestinian state, living in peace alongside Israel in secure and recognized borders" implied a swift resumption of negotiations, as well as the preservation of the viability of the two-state solution on the ground. The Council had to remain vigilant on the issue of colonization. The situation in Gaza continued to be of great concern. A fundamental change in approach was necessary and possible, without compromising on Israel’s security constraints.
On 18 February 2011, a draft resolution condemning the continuation of settlement activities by Israel in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constituted "a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace", was submitted to the Security Council by the Lebanese delegation at the request of the Palestinian Authority. Fourteen delegations voted in favour of the resolution, while the United States vetoed it. The draft resolution was thus rejected.
In their joint statement to the Council, France, the United Kingdom and Germany reiterated the illegality of settlements and the threat it constituted to a two-state solution. The three European countries called on both parties to return as soon as possible to direct negotiations on the basis of clear parameters and stressed that their goal remained an agreement on final status and the welcoming of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations in September 2011.
On 21 April 2011, the Security Council held its quarterly debate on the Middle East, in the presence of the representatives of Israel and Palestine. Following the report by Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, the Permanent Representative of France highlighted in his statement the increased legitimacy, in the context of the "Arab spring", of the Palestinian aspirations for a viable and sovereign state, living in peace alongside Israel, as well as the illegality of settlements. There was no alternative to a negotiated solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The French representative added that France and its European partners were considering the option of recognizing a Palestinian State. Any proposal to allow the peace process to move forward should be based on credible parameters, which should be endorsed by the Quartet and that would help overcome the crisis of confidence between the parties in the view of an immediate return to negotiations.
On 30 June 2011, the Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1994, co-sponsored by France, renewing for six months the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights. The text of the resolution had remained unchanged for many years. However, the violent incidents at the Israeli-Syrian border on 15 May and 5 June 2011, favoured by the authorities of Damascus, led the Council to adapt the text of the resolution. Resolution 1994 thus recalls the obligations of the parties to preserve the cease-fire and to cooperate fully with the operations of UNDOF.
In his explanation of vote, the French representative denounced the orchestration by Damascus of the Palestinian demonstrations on the Golan Heights and the hypocritical manipulation of the aspirations of the Palestinian people by the Syrian regime, which creates a threat to regional stability.
On 26 July 2011, the Security Council held its quarterly debate on the Middle East, in the presence of the representatives of Israel and Palestine. In his statement, the Permanent Representative of France recalled that the resolution of the Palestinian conflict was based, for France, on several simple convictions: "the status quo is intolerable; only dialogue will enable us to reach the only legitimate solution: two States for two peoples; the resumption of the peace process must be based on balanced parameters agreed upon by the two parties"
He recalled France’s position on settlement: "illegal under international law and constituting an obstacle to peace based on the dispossession of the Palestinian population, it undermines trust between the parties and constitutes a threat to the two-State solution."
The resumption of the peace process must be based on balanced parameters:
— An agreement on the borders of the two States, based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with equivalent land swaps may be agreed between the parties.
— Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect the sovereignty of the Palestinian State and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal with new and emerging threats.
— A just, fair and agreed solution to the refugee question.
— Fulfillment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both States.
Gérard Araud, Security Council, 26 July 2011
On 25 August 2011, the Security Council heard a report of the Secretariat, presented by Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in the Middle East. The members of the Security Council deplored the resumption of violence in the region and called on parties to relaunch the peace process.
On 21 September 2011, during his speech at the opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, proposed a United Nations observer state status for Palestine ⁄ and a road map relaunching the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in three stages:
— One month to resume talks;
— Six months to agree on the borders and security;
— One year to reach an agreement. "
On 23 September 2011, Mahmud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, submitted to the UN Secretary-General an application for admission of Palestine as a full member state of the United Nations. The Secretary-General referred the Palestine’s application to the Security Council. The same day, the Quartet for the Middle East issued a statement calling for the resumption of talks with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of 2012 at the latest and proposing to convene a donors conference to support the construction of Palestinian state institutions.
France welcomed a statement in the right direction, in line with the determination expressed by President Sarkozy in New York. "France is pleased to see that the discussions in recent days in the United Nations have contributed to an international awareness about the urgency to end the blocking of the Israeli-Palestinian issue".
On 27 September 2011, the Security Council met to hear the monthly briefing of the Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr Lynn Pascoe, in the presence of Mr. Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebabon. During his presentation, the Under-Secretary-General emphasized the urgent need for a resumption of direct negotiations between the two parties. "We must spare no effort to assist the parties to return to the negotiating table," he said. The members of the Council subsequently met in private consultations.
On 28 September 2011, following the referral to the Council by the UN Secretary-General of Palestine’s application for admission as a full member state, the Security Council members approved the Presidency’s proposal to seize the standing committee on admissions, pursuant article 59 of the Provisional rules of procedures.
On 18 October 2011, the Permanent Representatives of the Security Council member states met in consultations to discuss the ongoing work of the standing committee on admissions on the Palestinian application for full membership.
On 24 October 2011, the Security Council met to discuss the situation in the Middle East after hearing a report by Mr Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
In his statement, the Permanent Representative of France recalled the proposal of President Sarkozy that Palestine’s status be upgraded to observer State in order to break the deadlock. He also recalled the French proposal to organize an international donors conference to support the completion of Palestinian state institutions. He insisted that the pursuit of colonization, which France condemned, undermined the peace efforts. Ambassador Araud also welcomed the agreement that enabled the liberation of Gilad Shalit, as a first gesture in favour of peace.
On 3 November 2011, the Security Council standing committee on admissions met at the level of Permanent Representatives to examine its draft report on the full membership application submitted by Palestine on 23 September. The report, which noted that there was no consensus on the Palestinian application among Security Council members, was formally adopted on 11 November by the Standing Committee for transmission to the Security Council.
On 20 December 2011, the Security Council heard in closed consultations the report of Mr. Fernandez-Taranco, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs on the situation in the Middle East, in particular the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Following the consultations, the permanent representatives of European Union member States to the Security Council issued a joint statement to the press.
On 21 December 2011, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2028 renewing for six months the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights.
On 18 January 2012, the Security Council heard in private consultations the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos on the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories, in particular the effects of increased settlement constructions on the population concerned and the political outcome of the crisis.
On 24 January 2012, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco, Deputy Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs presented to the Security Council his quarterly report on the situation in the Middle East, including Israel and the Occupied Territories. The Security Council also heard statements from the Permanent Observer of Palestine and the Permanent Representative of Israel.
In his statement, the Permanent Representative of France reiterated his deep concern regarding the acceleration in 2011 of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories that violate international law and Council resolutions and threaten the territorial and economic viability of the future Palestinian state. He also reiterated France’s support to the Palestinian Authority in the building of viable institutions to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.
On 27 March 2012, the Security Council heard Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, on the situation in the region.
Mr. Serry noted the lack of progress in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. The inter-Palestinian reconciliation was stalled and violence was escalating.The number of wounded individuals in the West Bank due to Israeli operations had tripled, and settlement activities leading to the demolition of Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem persisted. Southern Israel continued to be targeted by rockets launched in the Gaza strip. Mr. Serry commended the efforts of Jordan and Egypt in promoting a negotiated settlement and ease tensions.
In closed consultations, the French representative encouraged the adoption of confidence-building measures between the two parties, while expressing his concerns over the divisions within the Palestinian Authority.
On 23 April 2012, the Security Council met for its monthly debate on the situation in the Middle East.
Speaking on the peace process between Israel and Palestine, Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, noted significant progress in security matters thanks to the efforts of the Palestinian forces to maintain calm in the West Bank. Despite a fragile situation, both sides reiterated their desire to negotiate. The Quartet was concerned by the violence of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and by the continued launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip. Given the risk of a resurgence of violence, the Quartet called on the parties to show restraint and avoid actions that could undermine their mutual confidence.
The French representative stressed that the peace process was at a deadlock, which threatened the possibility of a two-state solution. Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories represented a particular threat to the peace process. While the meeting between a Palestinian delegation and the Israeli Prime Minister was a step in the right direction, significant confidence-building measures had to be taken to rebuild confidence between the parties.
On 29 May 2012, the Security Council met for its monthly debate on the Middle East.
Speaking on the peace process between Israel and Palestine, Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East, reported several encouraging signs. The Palestinian and Israeli leaders had exchanged several letters and made joint statements, opening the prospect for further exchanges between the parties. An agreement had also been reached on the issue of Palestinian prisoners, ending their hunger strike. However, the Israeli settlement activities continued, and many Palestinians had been injured after Israeli operation in the West Bank.
In closed consultations, the representative of France commended the progress made, but underlined the lack of results noted by the Quartet or any significant development on the ground, without which this process could not continue.
On 19 June, the Security Council met with Mr Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Assistant Secretary General to examine the situation in the Middle East. During his briefing, Mr Taranco noted the continuing fragility of the situation between Israel and Palestine. He restated that Israeli installations in occupied Palestinian territories constituted a violation of international law and greatly jeopardized the possibility of the two states solution.
In the following consultations, the representative of France deplored the political deadlock of the peace process. While condemning the persistent Israeli colonization policy, he questioned the effectiveness of the Quartet.
On 21 June 2012, the Security Council heard the briefing of Mr Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations, on the evolution of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mission in the Golan Heights.
The Representative of France deplored the violations of the disengagement agreement and the increasing restricted freedom of movement of the observers, in particular on the Syrian side of the area of separation. He strongly condemned the attacks that targeted the observers and called upon all the parties to fully cooperate with the UNDOF, so that the personnel can execute its mandate safely.
On 27 June 2012, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2052 renewing for six months the mandate of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mission in the Golan Heights.
On 2 July 2012, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She declared that the blockade of the Gaza strip is illegal and must immediately be lifted, while she strongly condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza. The representative of France called for promoting economic development in the region.
On 25 July 2012, the Security Council held its monthly debate on the situation in Middle East, in presence of Mr Serry, Special Coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East.
The Representative of France echoed the preoccupations of Mr Serry regarding the impact on the region of the situation in Syria, in particular on Lebanon. The threat by Damascus of using chemical and biological weapons against its neighbours, the recent violation of the disengagement agreement on the Golan Heights and the violation of the territorial integrity of Lebanon were intolerable.
The destabilizing character of the Syrian crisis on the region, could further complicate the Middle East peace process already at a standstill. The repeated violations by Israel of the international law and UNSC resolutions, notably through the pursuance of the activities of illegal settlement, undermined the possibility of reaching peace. Similarly, the weakening of the Palestinian Authority and the absence of Palestinian unity were major obstacles to peace. The peace process having reached a deadlock, a credible and viable two-state solution should include the definition of a new frame of negotiations following clear parameters, a realistic schedule and assurances in case of non-compliance to the decisions of the international community.
On 22 August 2012, the Security Council held its monthly session on the situation in the Middle East, with Mr Feltman, Under Seretary-General for Political Affairs.
The peace process was in a stalemate: while Israel pursued its settlement activities in the occupied territories, the Palestinian factions remained deeply divided, to the detriment of the Palestinian population, and no significant progress between the two parties had been reported.
This situation was of great concern as it was part of an extremely volatile regional context, marked by an increasing militarization in Syria and the threat of a spill over effect of the Syrian crisis in Lebanon. During closed consultations, the Representative of France called the international community to support the Lebanese political class in order to protect the stability of this country.
On 17 September 2012, the Security Council heard Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, on the situation in the region. Mr. Serry reported a global deterioration of the situation. The power of the Palestinian Authority was undermined by the budgetary and political crisis in the occupied territories. The recent Israeli financial gesture of goodwill did not represent a long-term solution ensuring economic growth. To ensure the Authority’s fiscal viability in the short-term, he urgently called on donors to increase their contributions. He recalled that Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank violated international law and put at risk the viability of the two-State solution.
The French Representative pointed out the helplessness of the international community. He welcomed the recent initiative in the region taken by President Morsi but urged him to respect Camp David Accords.
On 15 October 2012, the Security Council held an open debate on the situation in the Middle East. In his report Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs J. Feltman, noted that despite rhetorical commitments to a negotiated peace from both sides the peace process was in a deadlock. Mr. Feltman added that stated intentions to adhere to a two-State solution were not translating into meaningful steps to renewed dialogue.
In his statement, the Representative of France underscored that the settlement policy implemented by Israel threatened the two-State solution. The physical, political and economic viability of a future Palestinian state was in jeopardy. Undermining the peace camp left the field open to supporters of violence. The Security Council’s role had to be reconsidered given the failure of the Quartet.
On 14 November 2012, as an escalation of violence threatened to take place between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the south of the country, the Security Council held a private meeting to receive a briefing by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, followed by a closed debate with the participation of the Israeli and Palestinian representatives to the UN.
On 21 November 2012, Mr. Ban Ki-moon briefed the members of the Security Council about the situation in Gaza via video-conference from Tel Aviv. He condemned the violence in the Gaza strip and called for the implementation of a ceasefire which had been reached in Cairo earlier that day.
Following his briefing, the Security Council met in closed consultations and issued a Press Statement calling upon the parties to uphold the ceasefire agreement and upon the international community to provide additional emergency aid to the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip.
On 27 November 2012, the Security Council met to hear a report by Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East, on the situation in the region and on the peace process.
During the private consultations which followed, the Representative of France urged the international community to focus its efforts on the consolidation of the cease-fire, the resumption of negotiations and support to the Palestinian Authority, including financially. Following its announcement by Foreign Fabius in Paris, he confirmed to Council members France’s decision to support the Palestinian bid for an improved status at the General Assembly, as a non-member observer state.
On 29 November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly granted Palestine the status of observer state by approving Resolution A/RES/67/19 with 138 votes (including France), 41 abstentions and 9 votes against (see vote record).
In his Explanation of Vote, the Permanent Representative of France stressed the need for Palestine, following this political success, to come back to the negotiating table without delay or preconditions. France had chosen to support the two-state solution, and a credible dialogue had to take place, each side had to refrain from reprisals that would play into the hands of extremists.
On 19 December 2012, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the Security Council on the situation in Middle East, focusing on the worrying erosion of the relations between Israelis and Palestinians.
During the following closed consultations, the French Representative condemned the settlement project announced by Israel, especially in the E1 zone, which severely endangered the Peace process. He called upon the Council to propose new solutions and to establish himself new parameters for an eventual Peace Agreement, the parties being incapable of achieving peace by their own.
France, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom finally made a common Press Statement condemning the Israeli settlements.
On 23 January 2013, the Security Council met to hear Mr Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on the situation in the region and on the situation between Israel and Palestine.
The French Representative strongly condemned the illegal policy of settlement pursued by Israel. He underlined that the two-state solution had been considered for a long time now and that 2013 should be the year of its implementation. The process would not materialize without the will of the parties to come back to negotiation and without any pre-condition. He then stressed the necessity of an inter-Palestinian reconciliation under the authority of President Abbas in compliance with the principles of PLO.
On 26 February 2013, during the Security Council monthly briefing on the situation in the Middle East, Mr Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political affairs, pointed out “heightened risks across multiple fronts” in the region. He called upon the international community to “help the parties define and implement a final status agreement” and reasserted the UN support to the role of the Quartet.
During the following consultations, the representative of France stressed the urgent need to develop a substantial political initiative to achieve the two-State solution. The risk of a renewed burst of violence had been recently heightened by the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israel and the rocket attack fired in reprisal from Gaza into Israel.
On 25 March 2013, the Security Council held its monthly debate on Middle-East. Mr Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, welcomed some positive developments in the region such as the recent President Obama’s visit and the commitment of both B. Netanyahu and M. Abbas to the two-States solution. There was an opening to implement a final status agreement, which the international community had to seize.
During the following consultations, the representative of France pointed out the need to achieve concrete progress given the volatile security situation on the ground. He reaffirmed France commitment to help resuming the peace process.
With regard to the political settlement of the Syrian conflict, the Secretary-General Special Representative was not so optimistic: parties had to look beyond a purely military settlement and a consensual position of the Security Council had to be found.
On 24 April 2013, the Security Council held its quarterly public debate on the situation in the Middle East, with the representatives of Israel and Palestine. Mr Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, welcomed the renewed presence of the United States in the region, which had harboured the hope of resuming the negotiations to achieve the two-States solution.
Mr Feltman expressed strong concerns over the escalation of the Syrian crisis: facing the militarization of the conflict and a humanitarian, the Security Council had to overcome its divisions and help finding a political solution on the basis of the Geneva Communique.
The representative of France underlined the urgency for the international community to deal with these two crises, which were undermining the Middle-East. The Syrian crisis spill-over effect was threatening the entire region, to start with Lebanon.
On 22 May 2013, Mr Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle-East Peace Process, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the region. He noted that the upcoming weeks would be critical to talks on ending the Syrian crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
During the following consultations, the representative of France warned the Council against security incidents on the ground, undermining diplomatic efforts achieved in both cases. He recalled that France was actively committed to organize the international conference which had to gather all Syrian stakeholders. The goal of this Conference was to form a new transitional government with full executive powers, on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of June 2012.