on the phone with Netanyahu, Macron toughens his tone

on the phone with Netanyahu Macron toughens his tone

In an appeal to the Israeli Prime Minister, the French president called on the latter to put an end to the assault in the Gaza Strip, while a ground offensive on Rafah is being prepared.

On the 131st day of war in the Middle East, Emmanuel Macron put a lot of pressure on his Israeli interlocutor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday February 14, according to the Elysée. After a series of air raids which, according to Hamas, left 104 dead in 24 hours in the Gaza Strip, the head of state raised his voice to denounce a “human toll and a “humanitarian situation” that he considers “intolerable” in the Palestinian enclave.

The French president, on the phone with Netanyahu, declared that military operations in Gaza “must stop”, the Elysée told AFP. He “expressed France’s firm opposition to an Israeli offensive in Rafah”, a town in the south of the Gaza Strip where 1.4 million Palestinians are refugees, according to UN figures. Rafah has already been the target of airstrikes in recent days. The Israeli army is now preparing a ground attack, which is shaking the international community as the situation of civilians there is already worrying.

Active discussions in Cairo

Emmanuel Macron stressed to his interlocutor “the extreme urgency that there was to conclude, without further delay, an agreement on a ceasefire”, continues the Elysée. The French head of state considers in particular “imperative to open the port of Ashdod, a direct land route from the Jordan and all crossing points” in order to deliver the necessary humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Macron is not the only one working to try to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Rafah. Since Tuesday, theEgypt welcomes representatives of the Israeli Mossad, the American CIA, as well as Qatar, the preferred mediator between Hamas and Tel Aviv since the start of this war. At this stage, according to Egyptian television, the discussions are “positive”. However, the Israeli president reiterated Wednesday evening his determination to continue the offensive: “We will fight until complete victory, which implies powerful action in Rafah, after allowing the civilian population to leave the areas combat,” he wrote on Telegram.