Delivered by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN

I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the current and incoming EU Members of the UNSC (Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland), as well as the United Kingdom and Norway.

We share the grave concerns expressed by the Secretary General in his latest report on the stated intention of the Government of Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and we strongly echo his call on Israel to abandon its annexation plans.

We also share the Secretary General’s assessment that if any Israeli annexation of the Occupied West Bank – however big or small – is implemented, it would constitute a clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter, as well as the UN Security Council resolutions. It would severely undermine the renewal of negotiations, the possibility to reach a two-State solution acceptable to both parties, and the prospect of a viable Palestinian State. Any such unilateral step would also weaken efforts to advance regional peace and our broader efforts to maintain international peace and security.

Annexation would have negative consequences for the security and stability of the region, including the security of Israel, which is not negotiable for us. We all currently enjoy a close relationship with Israel and wish to continue working with Israel in a constructive and comprehensive way, in the spirit of the longstanding friendship that binds us. However, following our obligations and responsibilities under international law, annexation would have consequences for our close relationship with Israel and would not be recognised by us.

We stand ready to respond to the Secretary-General’s call to take action with all relevant stakeholders that enables the parties to re-engage in a dialogue that will halt unilateral action. We will continue engaging with the parties and the international community in support of a negotiated two-state solution based on the international parameters.

International law is a fundamental pillar of the international rules-based order. In this respect, we recall our long-standing position that we will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders, unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians. The two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both States, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region.

In relation to the Palestinian leadership’s announcement with regard to agreements with Israel including security cooperation we are worried about the potential implications these steps could have on the ground. We call on both sides to refrain from any unilateral steps that could further deteriorate the situation on the ground, to remain committed to the Oslo agreements and to fully implement all resolution 2334, including with regard to settlement activities as well as with regard to all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement, destruction and inflammatory rhetoric.