The French President, Emmanuel Macron, visiting Israel on Tuesday to express his solidarity, called on à do not "expand the conflict" between the Israeli army and Hamas, believing that the release of the hostages was a priority.
Mr Macron's visit comes on the 18th day of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement. It left thousands dead, the vast majority civilians, and was triggered by the bloody attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on Israeli soil on October 7.
Upon its arrival, Tel Aviv airport, he met families of French or Franco-Israeli people killed, disappeared or held hostage in the Gaza Strip.
According to a count revised upwards by Emmanuel Macron, nine French or Franco-Israeli people are being held hostage or missing. At least thirty French people were killed in the Hamas attack, unprecedented in its violence and scale since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. It is also for France the heaviest death toll in an attack since that of July 14, 2016 in Nice (86 dead).
Among the families, that of Mia Shem, a Franco-Israeli hostage whose video was broadcast last week by Hamas, met President Macron , noted an AFP journalist.
“The first objective that we should have today is the release of all the hostages, without any distinction,” declared Mr. Macron in Jerusalem alongside Israeli President Isaac Herzog. There are around 220 detained in the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli authorities.
On Monday, Hamas released two octogenarian Israeli women, citing “humanitarian” reasons, three days after the release of an American and of his daughter.
The French president also affirmed that it was “our duty to fight these terrorist groups, without confusion, and I would say, without widening the conflict.”
The Elysée had indicated before the visit that the president intended to “continue the mobilization to avoid a dangerous escalation in the region”, in particular between Israel and the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, supported by Iran, while the clashes are daily. on the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The head of state will also propose relaunching a “genuine peace process” for the creation of a Palestinian state, with in return the commitment of the countries of the region for “the security of Israel”.
The president, whose visit comes after those of American President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is due to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the afternoon. He will thus be the first Western leader to visit the occupied West Bank since the start of the war.
The Palestinian Authority no longer exercises any power in the Gaza Strip since Hamas ousted it in 2007, after a few days of armed clashes.
Mr. Macron will also “likely have discussions” with the King of Jordan Abdullah II, the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, and the leaders of the Gulf, specified the French presidency.
– “Linked by the war” –
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emmanuel Macron before a meeting in Jerusalem on October 24, 2023 © POOL – Christophe Ena
During his one-day visit, President Macron, who is also due to meet the Prime Minister Israeli, Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leaders Benny Gantz and Yaïr Lapid, must plead in favor of “a humanitarian truce” which “could lead to a ceasefire”, according to the Elysée.
< p>He must also call for “preserving the civilian populations” in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, according to the Elysée, while Israel launched massive air strikes there in response to the attack of October 7, with the stated objective of “wiping out” the armed group.
Hamas claims that at least 5,087 Palestinians, including 2,055 children, have been killed in Gaza in Israeli raids since the start of the war.
More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel, most of them civilians, on the first day of the Hamas attack, according to Israeli authorities.
“We are linked to Israel by mourning”, wrote the French president on X (formerly Twitter): “In Tel Aviv, with their families, I expressed the solidarity of Nation.”
“I want you to be certain that you are not alone in this war against terrorism,” he told President Herzog.
Emmanuel Macron insisted that he would make such a trip if it could be “useful” to the region.
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