Macron tells Israel to avoid escalation, ‘particularly in Lebanon’

The French president’s warning came after an alleged Israeli airstrike killed Hamas deputy leader Salah al-Arouri in Beirut.

By Meir Dolev, World Israel News

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Israel to avoid any escalation of tensions, “particularly in Lebanon,” following the killing of Hamas’ deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, AFP reported on Wednesday.

During a call with Minister Benny Gantz, Macron emphasized the need to refrain from actions that could lead to escalation in the region. “It was essential to avoid any escalatory attitude, particularly in Lebanon, and that France would continue to pass on these messages to all players directly or indirectly involved in the area,” he said according to a readout from the Elysee Palace.

Israel has not officially confirmed its involvement in the elimination of al-Arouri, who was killed along with six other Hamas operatives in an explosion.

Macron also reiterated his stance on the need for a “lasting ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, expressing his “deepest concern” over the rising civilian casualties in Gaza and the ensuing humanitarian crisis. He reaffirmed “France’s commitment to the security of Israel.”

The French President, who had visited Israel at the onset of the conflict with Hamas and expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense, has also voiced criticism towards Israel. In a BBC interview, Macron called on Israel to “stop killing women and babies in Gaza.”

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying Israel had no need for “moral lectures.”

In an interview with France 5 last week, he said that combating terrorism does not justify “flattening Gaza.”

“We cannot let the idea take root that an efficient fight against terrorism implies to flatten Gaza or attack civilian populations indiscriminately.”

Israel has consistently stated its commitment to adhering to the laws of war, meticulously selecting targets to attack and frequently aborting missions on military sites if there is a significant risk of harming innocent civilians in the vicinity.