I came across this phrase in a Le Monde article, and it appears to be an idiomatic French expression because the literal translation doesn't really make sense:
Toutefois, ce dont les gens veulent être sûrs, c'est que vous ne passez pas une partie importante du pays par pertes et profits.
My literal translation of that is:
However, what people want to be sure of is that you don't pass an important part of the country to losses and profits.
This clearly seems to be idiomatic as the literal translation makes little sense. What is a good translation for this, and how did the idiom "par pertes et profits" come into being?