France (The Inside Palestine)- The French foreign minister referred to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories as “apartheid,” becoming one of the first senior French officials to use the term.
The Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned of the risk of “long-lasting apartheid” in ‘Israel’ in the event the Palestinians fail to obtain their own state.
The veteran politician made the remarks in an interview with RTL radio and Le Figaro newspaper in reference to the recent Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, in which at least 279 Palestinians were killed, including 69 children and 40 women, and 1,910 others injured.
“It’s the first time and it clearly shows that if in the future we had a solution other than the two-state solution, we would have the ingredients of long-lasting apartheid,” Le Drian said, using the word for the white supremacist oppression of blacks in South Africa from 1948 to 1991.
Le Drian said the “risk of apartheid is high” if ‘Israel’ continued to act “according to a single-state logic” but also if it maintained the status quo.
“Even the status quo produces that,” he said.
He added that Israel’s 11 days of aggression had shown the need to revive the moribund Middle East peace process.
“We have to take one step at a time,” he said, expressing satisfaction that United States President Joe Biden had reiterated support for creating a Palestinian state alongside ‘Israel’.
The chance of a two-state solution “was starting to disappear,” he also said on the French TV program Grand Jury.
We must “initiate a policy of small steps,” Le Drian said, adding: “We must ensure that there is a logic of trust that can be established” between Israel and the Palestinians.
Le Drian also expressed concern over violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories in the recent weeks.
He took issue with those who say Europe has no power to help resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“Europe is powerful,” Le Drian said. “It plays its part in the Middle East.”