Macron calls on Israel to stop killing women and babies in Gaza

by MMC
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  • By Katya Adler and Toby Luckhurst
  • BBC News, Paris

Video caption,

French President Macron urges Israel to stop killing women and children in Gaza

Israel must stop killing babies and women in Gaza, French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC.

In an exclusive interview at the Élysée, he said there was “no justification” for the attack, saying a ceasefire would benefit Israel.

While recognizing Israel’s right to protect itself, “we urge them to stop these bombings” in Gaza.

But he also stressed that France “clearly condemns” the “terrorist” actions of Hamas.

France – like Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and other Western countries – considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

Asked if he wanted other leaders – notably in the United States and the United Kingdom – to join his calls for a ceasefire, he replied: “I hope that they will. »

Speaking the day after a humanitarian aid conference in Paris on the war in Gaza, Macron said the “clear conclusion” of all governments and agencies present at the summit was “that there is no “There is no other solution than a humanitarian pause first, through a ceasefire, which will allow (us) to protect… all civilians who have nothing to do with the terrorists.”

“De facto – today civilians are being bombed – de facto. These babies, these ladies, these elderly people are being bombed and killed. So there is no reason and no legitimacy for this. So we urge Israel to stop .”

He said it was not his role to judge whether international law had been violated.

In a wide-ranging interview at the end of the first day of the annual Paris Peace Forum, the French president also mentioned:

  • Fears of a spillover of violence from the Middle East to France are encouraging citizens of all faiths to unite against anti-Semitism.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it was France’s ‘duty’ to help Ukraine – but suggesting there could be a time for ‘fair and good negotiations’ with Moscow
  • Online extremism, saying Meta and Google, Facebook’s parent company, “simply don’t deliver on their promises” on moderation
  • And the dangers of climate change, claiming it is pushing people around the world toward “terrorism.”

Beginning by mentioning Gaza, Mr. Macron said that France “clearly condemns” the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7, which sparked the war. Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people and took 240 others hostage in their unprecedented cross-border attack launched that day.

“We share (Israel’s) pain. And we share their desire to get rid of terrorism. We know what terrorism means in France.” But he said there was “no justification” for the ongoing bombing of civilians in Gaza.

“It is extremely important for all of us, because of our principles, because we are democracies. It is important, in the medium and long term, as well as for the security of Israel itself, to recognize that all lives matter.”


The French president gave the interview after the first day of the Paris Peace Forum, an annual summit in the French capital

When asked, he refused to say that Israel had violated international law in Gaza. “I am not a judge. I am a head of state,” he said, adding that it would not be fair to criticize Israel in this way – “a partner and a friend” – just one month after his attack.

But Mr Macron said he disagreed with the idea that the best way for Israel to “protect itself” is to carry out a massive bombing of Gaza, saying it created “resentment and bad feelings” in the region, which would prolong the conflict.

After a month of Israeli bombardment and nearly two weeks after Israel launched a major ground offensive on the territory, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Friday that 11,078 people had been killed, while that 1.5 million had fled their homes.

On the eve of a march against anti-Semitism on Sunday in which a large part of the French political class will participate, President Macron called on all French citizens to condemn anti-Semitic acts “unambiguously”.

He added that France probably had the largest Muslim community in Europe, as well as a significant Jewish community, and that with France and the rest of Europe experiencing a sharp rise in anti-Semitism, all citizens French people had to unite against anti-Semitism and had to “share the pain or suffering”. compassion of the Palestinians.


Mr. Macron gave the exclusive interview to the BBC at the Élysée

Mr Macron then moved on to other global issues, including Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

He said that if Russia was allowed to win its war, “you will have a new imperial power” in Europe, which could threaten other former Soviet states like Georgia and Kazakhstan, as well as the entire continent.

“Because, without a doubt, it is imperialism and colonialism that Russia is engaging in (in Ukraine),” he said.

The French president said it was the “duty” of his country and all countries to support Ukraine in its defense. But he also said the next month would be critical, as the country struggles to regain land lost in counter-offensive operations.

He added that it was “not yet” time for Ukraine to sit at the negotiating table and stressed that the decision to negotiate was solely up to kyiv. But he added that a time might come to “have fair and good negotiations, and come back to the table to find a solution with Russia.”

Mr Macron also spoke about online extremism, a key topic at the Paris Peace Forum. He pointed the finger at Meta and Google, Facebook’s parent company, saying the companies are “simply not delivering” on promises they have made to moderate hate speech on their platforms.

He said many online platforms lacked sufficient moderators for French-language content, calling it a “disgrace” and promising to “push” them on the issue – although he said TikTok had improved the number of moderators for its French-language content.

And he said climate change was causing terrorism in parts of the world, specifically mentioning the effects of global warming on falling water levels in West Africa’s Lake Chad.

“Due to climate change, many families living as fishermen (have suffered)… Many species have simply disappeared. And that has created a policy (that) has driven many people to terrorism.”

But when asked if he had ever felt depressed by the large number of problems facing the world, Mr Macron replied that he saw it as “an opportunity and an honor to have responsibilities ( as head of state).

“We need international cooperation (to solve global problems)… This is a unique opportunity.”

Learn more about the Israel-Gaza war

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