France Calls for Gaza Demilitarization, Lifting Blockade

PARIS (Reuters) —

French President Francois Hollande called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume truce talks after a Gaza ceasefire collapsed in a barrage of Hamas rockets and said the demilitarization of the enclave and a lifting of a blockade should be part of a deal.

“We are at a critical point. France supports the Egyptian mediation,” Hollande told Le Monde in an interview. “Gaza can no longer remain like it is. The objective must be a demilitarization and a lifting of the blockade.”

“Demilitarization can only be done under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. France with Europe can be useful in lifting the blockade at the Rafah crossing. Gaza must neither be an open prison or a military base,” Hollande said.

Hollande said if negotiations failed, then the international community would have to take the lead to find a solution.

“We must do everything to ensure negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority resume to find a solution to the conflict. We know the parameters, the only solution is two states living side by side,” he said.

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