Emmanuel Macron has expressed that Israel’s objective in combating terrorism doesn’t necessitate the “flattening of Gaza,” specifically addressing its response to the October 7th attack by Hamas.
Speaking to France 5 broadcaster, Macron emphasized the importance of not allowing the notion that an effective counterterrorism effort involves indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations.
He called on Israel to cease its response, emphasizing the equal value of all lives and advocating for the protection of civilians. While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense, Macron urged for a humanitarian ceasefire and a truce.
The deadliest Gaza conflict started when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,140 casualties, mostly civilians, and around 250 abductions, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli data. In response, Israel initiated an intensive bombardment and a ground invasion.
On Wednesday, Hamas claimed that 20,000 individuals, primarily women and children, had been killed in Gaza. Macron has consistently criticized Israel’s conduct in the campaign, cautioning earlier this month that achieving its stated goal of eliminating Hamas could take a decade and fuel resentment in the region.
Speaking at the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai, Macron stated that Israeli authorities need to “define more precisely” their objectives in Gaza. He emphasized that responding to a terrorist group should not involve “bombing the entirety of civilian capabilities.” Macron expressed concerns about the feasibility of the total destruction of Hamas and questioned if such a goal is achievable.
Critics accuse Macron of lacking a clear policy on Israel’s right to self-defense, but his allies argue that his stance has been consistent and has evolved with unfolding events.
His perceived unconditional support for Israel initially disappointed some Arab leaders and French diplomats used to a more independent policy on Israel from Paris. However, Macron’s increasing criticism of Israel now risks alienating Israelis.