18 former French ambassadors wrote an op-ed in Le Monde on Gaza: lemonde.fr/idees/article/…
Here’s a translation of their main points:
“The summary of six weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip is overwhelming: more than 13,000 deaths, mainly civilians, including 5,300 children; half of the enclave’s real estate destroyed. Israel, under the term ‘total war’, is developing a punitive strategy that is as brutal as it is futile, and increasingly contested. ‘Eradicating Hamas’ is more of a slogan than a realistic objective. In 2006, Israel had already proclaimed its desire to ‘eradicate Hezbollah’, with the known results…
Such a strategy is illusory. Hamas, which has already been targeted by five deadly military campaigns, will inevitably rise again. The army will not be able to defeat a movement supported by a large part of the Palestinian population, in Gaza as well as in the West Bank, in the face of a disqualified Palestinian Authority. As an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, with rear bases in the Arab-Muslim world, will have no trouble recruiting new fighters from among hopeless youths and rebuilding its arsenal of weapons. It will remain an indispensable actor.
The two-state solution has become increasingly difficult to build. Its possible foundation has shrunk like a shrinking skin due to the annexation of greater Jerusalem and the encouragement of the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which now house nearly 500,000 inhabitants. This solution is still worth attempting.
The solution of a single binational state, mentioned even before October 7, is regaining relevance. But the dilemma remains the same. Either Israel, essentially a democratic state, accepts the principle of equality of rights, with the risk of losing the majority for the Jewish population, currently equal to the Arab population on the territory of historic Palestine; or Israel refuses such a principle, loses an essential part of its soul, and exposes itself to an accusation of apartheid.
A strong warning should be expressed against any temptation to transfer populations to neighboring countries, which can only be seen as unacceptable ethnic cleansing and, in any case, cannot solve the problem of Israel’s security. The intention to ‘destroy’ the State of Israel is also unacceptable. It is clear that after this traumatic shock experienced by both sides, and this ‘total war’ doomed to fail, Israel’s security can only be assured through the fair resolution of the Palestinian issue and the affirmation of equal rights between two populations that must coexist.
- A renewal of the political classes will occur on both sides, as those currently in place have lost much of their legitimacy. On the Palestinian side, elections should be organized as soon as possible and involve all the political forces present. A strong commitment from the international community, particularly the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the Arab countries, is essential. France, which has lost much of its credibility in the Middle East and has seen its image deteriorate significantly in the Arab-Muslim world, must take part in this. However, it would require it to change its diplomacy towards a balanced and coherent policy that is independent from external pressures. Despite some rebalancing, this is not how it is perceived by many countries and public opinion. Such a policy requires courage and clarity, beyond the emotional reactions that this ‘total war’ provokes.”
Translation by @rnaudbertrand