French President Emmanuel Macron demanded a “lasting ceasefire” in Gaza during a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, his office said, as an escalating humanitarian crisis grips the Palestinian territory.
“France will work in the coming days in cooperation with Jordan to carry out humanitarian operations in Gaza,” the French presidency added in a statement.
Macron, an ally of Netanyahu since the start of the war triggered by the unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, told the Israeli premier of his “deepest concern” about civilian deaths and the humanitarian emergency in Gaza.
He also insisted on the importance of measures to end violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank and prevent new planned settlements.
Netanyahu’s office says he spoke by phone with President Macron to discuss the repeated attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, cross-border skirmishes between Israeli forces and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and the ongoing war in Gaza against Hamas.
Netanyahu’s office said during the call the prime minister thanked Macron for “France’s involvement in defending freedom of navigation and its willingness to help restore security along Israel’s border with Lebanon”.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked President Macron for France’s involvement in defending freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, and its willingness to assist in restoring security to Israel’s border with Lebanon,” says a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The conflict erupted when Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
Palestinian militants also took around 250 hostages, 129 of whom remain in captivity, Israel says.
Israel vowed to destroy Hamas and retaliated with relentless bombardment and a ground invasion in Gaza that has killed at least 21,110 people, mainly women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.