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The French president criticizes Israel's strategy for Gaza

2023-12-06 08:52:00, Kosova & Bota CNA
The French president criticizes Israel's strategy for Gaza
The French president criticizes Israel's strategy for Gaza

French President Emmanuel Macron's aim is to reach a new ceasefire between the terrorist organization Hamas and the Israeli army, which should then lead to a long-term ceasefire. This is what Macron said at the weekend during a short visit to the world climate conference COP28 in Dubai. The French president said that during the talks in Qatar he wanted to commit to intensifying efforts to reach a ceasefire.

He did not make a big impression with his suggestions. Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israel. The Israeli army has expanded its offensive towards Hamas positions throughout the Gaza Strip. Hamas is still holding hostages. According to the United Nations, the situation of the civilian population in Gaza is catastrophic.

Macron doubts that Hamas can be destroyed

Emmanuel Macron also publicly questioned Israel's war aims for the first time. "What does the total destruction of Hamas mean and does anyone believe that this is possible? Even if it were possible, the war would last ten years," the French president said in Dubai. The indirect response from Jerusalem came immediately. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said continuing the ground offensive in Gaza was the only way to "completely defeat" Hamas. "We will continue to pursue all our war goals," Netanyahu said on Israeli television.

The French president criticizes Israel's strategy for Gaza
President Macron with the Minister of Energy of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail al-Mazroueirkoi in Dubai

President Macron demanded in Dubai that the Israeli leadership "be more precise about its goals and the ultimate goal it is striving for." There are no plans for a complete occupation of the Gaza Strip and administration by Israel. And it is unclear who will take over this task after the end of the war.

The terrorist leadership of Hamas made it clear that the war will continue until a ceasefire is reached. Until then, the release of the hostages cannot be discussed.

Out of the way of the EU

With his comments, the French president departs from the common official position of the European Union, which was agreed upon at the last summit at the end of October. Heads of state and government called for brief "ceasefires" to free hostages and provide supplies to the population. There was no talk of a ceasefire because they didn't want to put too much pressure on Israel.

Apart from France, Spain and Belgium also show more understanding of Palestinian concerns than Germany, which clearly supports Israel's actions. At the next EU summit, the common position of the EU in the Middle East conflict will be discussed again next week.

Equal distance to both parties

At the moment, it seems that Emmanuel Macron intends to keep an equal distance from both Israel and the Palestinians. Even French President Charles de Gaulle had tried to position France after the Six Day War of 1967 in the middle. At that time Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria and gained control over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai.

Immediately after Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7, the French president expressed unequivocal solidarity with Israel. After all, France had also been the victim of Islamic attacks several times in recent years. However, after the Israeli army's massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip began, causing the death of more and more Palestinian civilians, Macron's attitude changed. In an extremely harsh interview with the BBC on November 10, the French president accused Israel of bombing civilians. There is no justification and legitimacy for this, he said. The Israeli government reacted with indignation.

The French president criticizes Israel's strategy for Gaza
French President Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron wants to prevent the spread of the conflict in the Middle East in society in France. He announced this in a televised speech. France has a very large Jewish community as well as a much larger Muslim community. Saturday's Islamist-inspired attack on bystanders in Paris was the second attack since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel. So the danger that Macron talks about is real.

Macron is not alone

This weekend Macron received support from the US with his latest idea for a ceasefire and the protection of the civilian population. US Vice President Kamala Harris, who also attended the Dubai climate conference, said many innocent Palestinians had been killed. "To be honest, the extent of the suffering, the pictures and the videos coming out of Gaza are deeply depressing," said Harris.

Even the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, warned during an event in California, that Israel has a moral obligation to protect its civilian population. His experience in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq has shown him that the population must be protected even in house-to-house wars. "If you take them into the enemy's arms, you can achieve a tactical victory, but you will suffer a strategic defeat"./ DW

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