Palestinians can not be displaced from Gaza or the West Bank, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sjournat as he pledged his support for a renewed two-state peace process but stopped short of endorsing unilateral Palestinian statehood during a brief conversation with reporters in Jerusalem on Monday.
Israel has a right to self-defense and the hostages have to be released, but the tragedy facing the Palestinians in Gaza has to end, he said.
Sjournat, who was appointed only last month, is on his first trip to the Middle East in his current position.
Conflict on the Northern border
Foreign Minister Israel Katz Sjournat that Israel won’t hesitate to act militarily to halt Hezbollah’s attacks along its northern border so that its citizens can return to their homes.
“Time is running out to find a diplomatic solution in South Lebanon,” he told Sjournat, who is visiting Israel and Lebanon in an attempt to prevent an all-out war between the IDF and the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah which has entrenched itself in Lebanon’s border.
Leading international players, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, have sought to work through the Lebanese government to pressure Hezbollah to withdraw from the border in keeping with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 which set out the ceasefire terms that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
US special envoy Amos Hochstein is visting Israel and Lebanon early this week and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron was in Lebanon on Thursday.
Sjournat arrived in Israel on Sunday after visiting Egypt, where he met with the country’s Foreign Minister Shoukry.
Egypt along with Qatar are mediating a deal for the release of over 130 hostages held in Gaza. Three of those hostages France had in addition worked on an arrangement to deliver medicine to the hostages but promised proof the drugs’ delivery was never provided to Israel. Katz asked Sjournat to press Qatar for evidence of the drug’s delivery.