French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that Israel is killing women and children in Gaza, in an interview he gave to the BBC at his official residence.
“De facto – today civilians are being bombed,” Macron claimed. “These babies, these women, these old people are being bombed and killed. So there is no reason for it and no legitimacy. So we do plead with Israel to stop.”
The French president said that a ceasefire would benefit Israel, but added that Paris recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself.
He emphasized that France “clearly condemns” the terrorist actions of Hamas. When asked if he wanted other leaders – including in the United States and Great Britain – to join his calls for a ceasefire, he replied: “I hope so.” Jerusalem has since rejected calls for a ceasefire.
“These babies, these women, these old people are being bombed and killed. So there is no reason for it and no legitimacy. So we do plead with Israel to stop.”
Israel has agreed to four-hour humanitarian pauses to allow civilians to move south. The IDF presented videos and recordings showing how Hamas makes it difficult for residents to escape from the fighting centers in the northern Gaza Strip and uses them as human shields.
Macron’s visit to Israel in October
Macron, who visited Israel last month to show his solidarity with Israel, held that interview a day after a conference in Paris that dealt with humanitarian aid to Gaza. The French president said that the “clear conclusion” of all the governments and agencies present at that summit is “that there is no other solution except first of all a humanitarian truce, beyond a ceasefire, which will allow citizens to be protected who have nothing to do with terrorists.”
The French president added “we do share Israel’s pain. And we do share their willingness to get rid of terrorism. We know what terrorism is in France.” However, he said that there is “no justification” for the ongoing bombings of civilians in Gaza. “It is very important for all of us because of our principles, because we are democracies. It is also important for the medium-long term, for the security of Israel itself, to recognize that all life is important,” Macron said.
In an exclusive interview with the British network, which has already received severe criticism for its biased coverage of the war, the president added that it is not his job to judge whether war crimes are being committed.
On the other hand, Macron said that he disagrees that the best way for Israel to “defend itself is to bomb Gaza.” According to him, it would create “resentment and bad feelings” in the region that would prolong the conflict.
According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, 11,078 people have been killed since the start of the war, while 1.5 million residents have fled their homes. Hamas does not specify how many of the dead are from the ranks of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, while according to Israel it is several thousand.
Macron also addressed the tensions in his own country between the Jewish and Muslim communities. He said that France probably has the largest Muslim community in Europe and also a large Jewish community – and that his country and the rest of Europe are experiencing a large increase in antisemitism – all citizens of the republic should be “united against antisemitism,” and should “share the pain or the compassion of Palestinians.”