Macron demands ‘lasting ceasefire’ now between Israel and Hamas

The French president has become steadily more critical of Israel due to the rising Gazan death toll.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

French President Emmanuel Macron demanded that Israel implement a “lasting ceasefire” with Hamas Wednesday in a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, due to the rising Gazan death toll.

Almost in the same breath as telling the Israeli leader that France “support[s] Israel’s security,” Macron said that the Jewish state should break off fighting the Hamas terror organization that sparked the ongoing war when its forces invaded Israel October 7 and massacred 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

According to a statement from Macron’s office, he expressed “his deepest concern in the face of the very heavy civilian death toll and the situation of absolute humanitarian emergency” in the Gaza Strip as the war “intensifies.”

The number that alarms Macron, along with many others in the West who are pressing Jerusalem for a ceasefire, is that according to Hamas’ Health Ministry, 21,200 Palestinians have died due to “Israel’s aggression.” Hamas, however, does not offer evidence for its claims, does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, and does not acknowledge the losses among its citizens due to its own failed rocket launchings.

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According to IDF figures, over 8,000 of those killed so far in the war are Hamas fighters, which means that the civilian death toll is less than three to one, a percentage for “collateral damage” that military experts have said is acceptable to probably every army in the world, including the United States.

Macron’s phone call came in the wake of Netanyahu’s declaration Sunday evening that “we are intensifying the war in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to fight until absolute victory over Hamas. This is the only way to return our hostages, eliminate Hamas and ensure that Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel…. We will not stop until we achieve victory.”

Elysee Palace added that “France will work in the coming days in cooperation with Jordan to carry out humanitarian operations in Gaza.”

In a statement on the call, the Prime Minister’s Office did not refer to the ceasefire demand, instead beginning by saying Netanyahu had thanked  Macron for “France’s involvement in defending freedom of navigation and its willingness to help restore security along Israel’s border with Lebanon.”

Focusing on the humanitarian issues on the Israeli side that many foreign countries are now ignoring, the office then said that Netanyahu had “updated” Macron on the war’s progress and IDF efforts to free the 129 hostages still alive in Gaza “and asked him to continue working for their release.”

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In addition, it noted, “Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear that the people and Government of Israel are determined to work in every way to return the residents of the north and south to their homes.”

Israel evacuated more than 125,000 citizens from the borders of Gaza and Lebanon in the first weeks of the war to hotels and guesthouses due to the constant danger from the indiscriminate rocket fire coming from Hamas and its sister terror organization in Lebanon, Hezbollah. Tens of thousands more have self-evacuated from communities slightly further from Gaza that are regularly hit as well, such as Ashkelon, which has been Hamas’ target some 20-25% of the time.

Macron started voicing criticism of Israel’s conduct in Gaza weeks ago. He told the BBC last month that Israel “should stop killing women and babies in Gaza,” and in an interview with France 5 last week he said, “We cannot let the idea take root that an efficient fight against terrorism implies to flatten Gaza or attack civilian populations indiscriminately.”

Israel has repeatedly said that it adheres to the laws of war, carefully weighing what targets to strike and even calling off many attacks on military sites when the possible danger to innocent civilians in the area is too great.

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