Paris, France: If Palestinians do not have their own state, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned on Sunday that Israel could face “long-term apartheid.”
Le Drian is one of the first top French officials to use the word “apartheid” to describe Israel, which has vehemently denied any racial discrimination policy.
Apartheid (“apartness” in Afrikaans) was a legal system in South Africa that enforced segregationist practices against non-white inhabitants.
In an interview with RTL radio and Le Figaro newspaper, the veteran politician made the statements in response to violence between Jews and Arabs that occurred in various Israeli cities during the most recent conflict.
The violence ruptured years of calm coexistence in Israel, revealing seething discontent among Israeli Arabs at the onslaught on Palestinians in Jerusalem.
“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 went on to say that the 11-day confrontation between Hamas and Israel had demonstrated the necessity to resurrect the Middle East peace process, which had been dormant for some time.
“We have taken one step at a time,” he said, expressing satisfaction that US President Joe Biden had reiterated support for creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry, Israel’s current operation against Hamas killed 248 people in Gaza, including 66 children, and injured nearly 1,900 others.
Meanwhile, Palestinian armed factions fired rockets into Israel, killing 12 people and injuring 357 others, according to Israeli authorities.
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA VIA TWITTER