Israel must stop bombing Gaza and killing civilians, French President Emmanuel Macron has told British media.
There was “no legitimacy” for the bombing, Macron told the BBC in an interview published late on Friday, adding that a ceasefire would benefit Israel.
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“These babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed,” the French leader said. “So there is no reason for that,” he added. “So we do urge Israel to stop,” he added
He said France “clearly condemns” the “terrorist” actions of Hamas, but that while recognising Israel’s right to protect itself, “we do urge them to stop this bombing” in Gaza.
“I hope they will,” the French president said when asked if he wanted other leaders – including in the United States and Britain – to join his calls for a ceasefire.
Washington has refused to support calls for a full ceasefire, instead backing short stops in fighting to allow humanitarian aid.
Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, which killed at least 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials. The intense bombings and ground assaults by Israel on Gaza have since killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to health officials.
Israel has faced growing calls for restraint, but has said Hamas would take advantage of a ceasefire to bolster its positions.
In a statement responding to Macron’s comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that world leaders should be condemning Hamas, and not Israel.
“These crimes that Hamas [is] committing today in Gaza will be committed tomorrow in Paris, New York and anywhere in the world,” Netanyahu said.
Macron’s interview with the BBC aired a day after a humanitarian conference on Gaza was held in Paris.
Macron said the “clear conclusion” of all governments and agencies present at that summit was “that there is no other solution than first a humanitarian pause, going to a ceasefire” in order to protect the lives of “all civilians having nothing to do with terrorists”.
“De facto – today, civilians are bombed – de facto. These babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed. So there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop,” he said.
The United Nations and international rights groups have warned about the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, with the global organisation saying the lives of one million children are “hanging by a thread”.
Since the start of the war, France has banned pro-Palestinian rallies and cracked down on those taking to the streets to protest against the killing of civilians in Gaza.