France must demand an immediate ceasefire

France must demand an immediate ceasefire

Open letter from the AFPS to the President of the Republic on the occasion of his trip to Israel

Mr. President of the Republic
Elysee Palace
55 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré
75008 PARIS

October 23, 2023
Ref no.: 56-23

Subject: Your trip to Israel

Mr. President of the Republic,

Your trip to Israel is announced for Tuesday, and we would like to ask you this question: what message will you carry?

Will you continue, as has been the case until now, to provide unconditional support to the State of Israel in its military actions it is carrying out today against the Palestinian population and all of its civilian infrastructure? Will you continue to support “Israel’s right to defend itself” which, in the ears of Israeli leaders, has always been understood as a “license to kill”?

Do you know the scale of the human catastrophe experienced by the Gaza Strip, the continuous victim of indiscriminate, widespread bombings of unprecedented intensity? Can you imagine this million people thrown onto the roads, from the total lack of energy which in turn leads to the cessation of all water distribution? Can you imagine the shortage of food, medicine, medical equipment? It is a war of elimination that Israel has been waging for several days against the Gaza Strip, and it is preparing for the irreparable: a ground attack which will be added to all the bombings.

The attack by Palestinian commandos against Israel on October 7, which caused numerous civilian casualties and civilian hostages, caused great emotion. This emotion is perfectly legitimate, but its exploitation in the service of the elimination of another people is criminal: it is inconceivable to us that you would not make this distinction.

We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that humanitarian aid, even if it is absolutely essential, will never meet the needs. We cannot respond to a general shortage of water for 2.2 million inhabitants by delivering a few truckloads of bottled water through a single crossing point… Only stopping the siege, resuming the delivery of Electricity and fuel, and an end to indiscriminate bombings and population displacements, could resolve the catastrophic humanitarian crisis facing the Gaza Strip.

Many observers observe a situation akin to genocide. We refuse that France is complicit.

Beyond the attack on Gaza, all of Palestine and Palestinians are under attack. In the West Bank, joint attacks by the Israeli army and settlers have left 91 dead over the past 10 days. This situation requires urgent protection of the Palestinian people wherever they are.

We ask you, Mr. President of the Republic, to take advantage of your trip to Israel to demand with all your strength an immediate ceasefire, an end to the bombings, Israel’s renunciation of its plan to move population and ground attack, and the emergency restoration of supplies of energy and essential goods to Gaza, pending the complete lifting of the siege of Gaza.

Faced with an Israeli government that is driven by revenge and which is embarking on an adventure that would compromise any prospect of peace, we ask you, Mr. President of the Republic, to be the messenger of peace and respect for law.

Please accept, Mr. President of the Republic, the expression of our highest consideration.

Bertrand Heilbronn
President of the AFPS