France's Macron says he's going to Qatar to work on new Gaza truce

DEC 2, 2023 LISTEN

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France was "very concerned" by the resumption of violence in Gaza and that he was heading to Qatar to help in efforts to kickstart a new truce ahead of a ceasefire.

A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed on Friday after mediators were unable to extend the pause. Israel and Hamas have traded blame over the collapse.

Macron urged Israel to clarify its goals in its war with the Palestinian militants Hamas – warning that achieving the "total destruction" of the group would entail 10 years of war.

“We are at a moment when Israeli authorities must more precisely define their objectives and their final goal: the complete destruction of Hamas, does anyone think it is possible?" Macron asked at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN's Cop28 climate talks in Dubai.

The French leader appealed for intensified efforts to reach a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, a day after Israel renewed its bombardments.

"There is no lasting security for Israel in the region if its security is achieved at the cost of Palestinian lives and thus of the resentment of public opinions in the region. Let's be collectively lucid," Macron said.

The situation required increased efforts to free all hostages held by Hamas, allow more urgently needed aid into Gaza, and to assure Israel of its security, he added.

Humanatarian catastrophe

The United Nations estimates 1.7 million people in Gaza – around 80 percent of the population – have been displaced by eight weeks of near-constant Israeli bombardment of the strip.

The population is short of food, water and other essentials, and many homes have been destroyed. UN agencies have declared a humanitarian catastrophe, although some aid trucks did arrive Saturday.

After the truce between Israel and Hamas expired on Friday, Israel had told NGOs not to bring aid convoys across the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, the Palestine Red Crescent Society had said.

The Gaza health ministry says Israel's war on the strip has so far killed more than 15,000 people, most of them women and children, in the Palestinian territory.

On Friday, Israeli airstrikes killed nearly 200 people in the north and south of the strip, as the Israeli army issued evacuation orders for residents in the northern parts of the Gaza Strip to move to central areas in the strip.

Further south, the army dropped leaflets in Arabic ordering civilians in the villages around Khan Younis to evacuate toward Rafah in the southmost of the Gaza Strip.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) yesterday, called on Israel to rescind its evacuation orders to Palestinian civilians immediately, saying there is no place in Gaza that is safe because of the ongoing indiscriminate bombing of the strip.

The evacuation orders come as the number of Palestinians killed and injured across the territory is rising by the tens every hour.