French President In Israel On Solidarity Visit


Tel Aviv: French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to convey his country’s “complete solidarity” with Israel following the deadly attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7, as reported by an AFP journalist.

His visit comes more than two weeks after Hamas militants entered Israel from the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of at least 1,400 people. Israeli officials state that the majority were civilians who were either shot, mutilated, or burned to death on the first day of the raid.

This included 30 people who were French citizens.

Macron was scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convey France’s “complete solidarity” with Israel following that attack, as stated by the French presidency.

He also expected to advocate for the “protection of the civilian population” in Gaza, amidst Israel’s continuous bombardment and amid preparations for a ground invasion of the densely populated Palestinian enclave.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry, over 5,000 people, mostly women and children, have lost their lives during Israel’s attacks.

Macron will specifically advocate for a “humanitarian pause” to facilitate the delivery of urgently required aid to Gaza. The Elysee Palace stated that Gaza’s 2.4 million residents have faced severe shortages of water, food, electricity, and essential supplies due to an Israeli blockade.

Macron and Netanyahu were scheduled to conduct a joint press conference at 1:00 pm (1000 GMT).

The French president was set to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog, along with opposition leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in Jerusalem.

In Tel Aviv, he was scheduled to meet with the families of French and French-Israeli nationals who lost their lives in the Hamas attack or are currently held hostage in Gaza.

Seven French citizens are currently unaccounted for. Among them, a French woman has been verified as one of the over 200 individuals reportedly taken hostage by Hamas, according to Israel.

Macron said that it is believed the remaining people are also hostages, though confirmation is still pending.

The French president, according to the Elysee, intends to persist in endeavors to prevent a perilous escalation in the region. This comes as concerns mount over escalating cross-border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah, backed by Iran, in Lebanon.

Macron will propose relaunching a “true peace process” with the objective of establishing a viable Palestinian state, contingent upon assurances from regional powers concerning “Israel’s security.”

There are likely to be discussions with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and leaders from Gulf nations, as communicated by the Elysee.

Previously, Israel has been visited by US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

 (With inputs from agencies)

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