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French President Macron urges Netanyahu to end Gaza war, find diplomatic solution for Israel-Hezbollah tensions

French President Emmanuel Macron with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, Oct. 23, 2023. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the war in Gaza during a phone conversation on Tuesday.

“The ordeal of the Palestinians in Gaza must end,” Macron reportedly told Netanyahu, according to the French Presidential Élysée Palace. He also noted the urgency to release the remaining Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Macron reportedly supports the latest ceasefire deal proposal presented by U.S. President Joe Biden, arguing that a ceasefire should be the first step toward the "credible perspective for implementing the two-state solution.”

The French stance regarding the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza has changed over the course of the conflict.

In late October, just weeks after the Hamas attack, Macron expressed strong support for Israel during a solidarity trip to Israel.

"We’re connected to Israel through our shared grief. Thirty of our fellow citizens were killed on Oct. 7. Nine others are still missing or held as captives. In Tel Aviv, together with their families, I conveyed France’s solidarity with Israel," the French president stated at the time. “This fight against terrorism is obviously a matter of existence for Israel, but it’s a matter of existence for all of us.”

While France has backed Israel's right to defend itself against Iranian terror proxies – Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon – it has increasingly expressed concerns about the growing number of civilian casualties in the Strip.

In February, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné demanded a ceasefire in Gaza during a visit to Israel.

“The tragedy in Gaza must end,” Séjourné said. “We call for international humanitarian law to be respected by all and for an immediate and lasting cease-fire and a massive influx of humanitarian aid,” he stated.

During their recent phone conversation, Netanyahu and Macron also discussed the threats against Israel from Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, as well as the wider nuclear threat from the Iranian regime, which has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state. Macron reportedly noted his “deep concern over the trajectory of Iran’s nuclear program.”

In addition, tens of thousands of Israelis have been forced to leave their homes in northern Israel after Hezbollah forces began attacking Israel on Oct. 8 in an act of solidarity with Gaza.

Macron told Netanyahu he hopes a diplomatic solution can be found to the ongoing conflict with Hezbollah. France has a strong influence in Lebanon, which was a French-controlled mandate for two decades until its independence in 1945.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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