Le Drian is one of the first senior French officials to use the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, which angrily denied any policy of racial discrimination.
The seasoned politician made the remarks in an interview with RTL radio and Le Figaro newspaper, referring to clashes between Jews and Arabs that erupted in several Israeli towns during the latest conflict.
The violence, which revealed seething anger among Arab Israelis over the repression of Palestinians in Jerusalem, shattered years of peaceful coexistence in Israel.
Israeli police seen in the streets of the central Israeli town of Lod, where synagogues and cars were set on fire last night along with damaged shops, by Arab residents rioting in the town, and ongoing this evening. May 12, 2021 (Yossi Aloni / Flash90)
“This is 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 for a lasting apartheid,” said Le Drian, using the word for l white supremacist oppression. blacks in South Africa from 1948 to 1991.
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Le Drian said that “the risk of apartheid is high” if Israel were to continue to act “according to a one-state logic”, and also if it maintained the status quo.
“Even the status quo does this,” he said.
He added that the 11-day conflict between Hamas and Israel had shown the need to revive the moribund peace process in the Middle East.
“We have taken one step at a time,” he said, welcoming US President Joe Biden for reiterating his support for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.