November 30, 2023

French president spoke to Israeli prime minister as Paris prepared more humanitarian aid for Gaza.

French President Emmanuel Macron has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu there were “too many civilian losses” in Israel’s war in Gaza, as Paris readied more humanitarian aid for the besieged enclave.

Israel has said it wants to destroy the Palestinian armed group after it killed about 1,200 people and took hundreds more captive in a surprise assault on October 7.

More than 13,000 people in Gaza, some 70 percent of them women and children according to the United Nations, have been killed in the air and land offensive. Hospitals, schools and refugee settlements have also come under sustained attack.

According to a statement from Macron’s office on Sunday, the French president reminded Netanyahu of the “absolute necessity to distinguish terrorists from the population” and “the importance of achieving an immediate humanitarian truce leading to a ceasefire”.

Macron also condemned violence against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, the statement said. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed there since Israel began its war in Gaza.

The French leader told Netanyahu about his “great concern over the escalation in violence against Palestinian civilians” in the occupied West Bank and called for calm.

Macron also spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is from the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.

He told Abbas of “the need for the Palestinian Authority and all countries in the region to unequivocally and with the greatest firmness condemn the terrorist attack carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7”.

Earlier on Sunday, Macron announced new humanitarian assistance for Gaza where there are growing fears of starvation.

The president said France would send an aircraft with more than 10 tonnes of medical supplies at the start of the week, and will contribute to European Union medical aid flights on November 23 and 30.

It is also preparing a second hospital ship, the helicopter carrier Dixmude, which will arrive in Egypt in the coming days.

The French helicopter carrier – the Tonnerre, which has about 60 beds and two operating theatres – has already been deployed to the region.

The statement added that “France is mobilising all its available means to contribute to the evacuation of wounded and sick children requiring emergency care from the Gaza Strip to its hospitals”.

Macron said later on X, formerly Twitter, that up to 50 children could be flown for treatment in hospitals in France “if useful and necessary”.

Earlier this month, French planes delivered 54 tonnes of aid for Gaza via Egypt.

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