France to advance UNSC resolution calling for Gaza ceasefire, two states

French FM says text will include ‘all the criteria for a two-state solution’; draft also said to call for release of hostages taken on October 7 during Hamas massacre

The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024. (Angela Weiss/AFP)
The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

France’s top diplomat Stephane Sejourne said Saturday his government will put forward a draft resolution at the UN Security Council setting out a “political” settlement of the Gaza war.

Speaking at a press conference in Cairo, he said the text will include “all the criteria for a two-state solution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the peace blueprint long championed by the international community but opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition.

Sejourne was speaking alongside the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers and together they called for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire” in Gaza and the release of all hostages held by Palestinian terrorists since the October 7 massacre.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Gaza “can endure no more destruction and humanitarian suffering,” and called on Israel to open its land crossings with the Gaza Strip to humanitarian aid.

Nearly all aid into the territory has trickled through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, where world leaders and the United Nations have accused Israel of impeding deliveries due to security inspections.

Israel has blamed the UN and other aid agencies for the crisis and has argued the hold-up of the humanitarian assistance is on their side.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne give a joint press conference at the Egyptian foreign ministry’s Tahrir Palace headquarters in central Cairo on March 30, 2024. (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

On Thursday, Channel 12 reported that France was circulating a UN Security Council draft resolution that calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and recognition of a Palestinian state.

The draft also includes a condemnation of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, unlike the resolution that passed earlier this week, and a call for the release of the hostages taken from Israel on October 7, according to the report.

Israel’s envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, told Channel 12 that the French proposal “plays into Hamas’s hands and rewards terrorism.”

The proposal “breaks all the principles of negotiations and advances unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” he said, adding that Israel will “strongly oppose this terrible proposal.”

France has advocated for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, whereas the United States, Israel’s main ally, let pass a UN Security Council resolution last week that calls for a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan and a release of all the hostages.

It was the first time that the Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza since the start of the war on October 7, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists killed some 1,200 people across southern Israel and took 253 hostages.

A US resolution vetoed by Russia and China just a few days before Monday’s vote more directly tied the demand for a Gaza ceasefire to the talks brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States. The US had previously vetoed resolutions calling for an immediate ceasefire, which contained no mention or linkage to the hostage talks.

The passage of the resolution Monday led to a spat between Jerusalem and Washington, where the Biden administration has also voiced its strong opposition to Israel’s plans for an offensive in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and dismantle its governing and military capabilities across the coastal Palestinian enclave.

IDF soldiers operating in Gaza in this undated photo released by the military, March 29, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson)

Israel is not expected to abide by the resolution’s call for an immediate ceasefire and Hamas is not expected to follow the demand for an immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, though only the former is a party to the UN charter and failure to abide by its resolutions could lead to calls for sanctions.

Hamas hailed the resolution, calling for “a permanent ceasefire that leads to the withdrawal of all Zionist forces from the Gaza Strip, and the return of the displaced to the homes from which they left.”

The terror group also said in a statement that it was willing “to engage in an immediate prisoner exchange process that leads to the release of prisoners on both sides.”

Talks are ongoing, with Israel accusing Hamas of making unrealistic demands, including for any further hostage releases to be conditional on an Israeli commitment to end the war.

Negotiations are set to resume in Cairo later Sunday.

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