The French President is trying to try on the image of a peacemaker
Israel's plans to continue fighting until Hamas is completely destroyed threaten a decade of war, says French President Emmanuel Macron.
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN COP28 climate talks in Dubai, Macron said Israel risks starting a ten-year war.
As The Guardian recalls, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas in response to the October 7 attack and unleashed an air and ground campaign that has killed more than 15,000 people, most of them civilians, Hamas authorities in Gaza say.
“What is the complete destruction of Hamas, and does anyone think it is possible? If this is so, then the war will last 10 years,” Macron said on Saturday. “I think we have reached a point where the Israeli authorities will have to more precisely define their goal and desired end state.”
After the Israeli army resumed shelling the Gaza Strip on Friday following the collapse of a week-long truce, Macron said it was necessary to “intensify efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire” in the conflict.
Macron traveled to Doha on Saturday to meet Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose government has been central to diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.
But his five-hour stop in Doha came just after Israeli negotiators had departed, with Israel citing a “stalemate” in the negotiations, The Guardian noted.
Israel and Hamas blamed each other for disrupting the truce, which had allowed for the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners before it expired.
The Israeli army said it had carried out more than 400 strikes on Gaza since the ceasefire was broken, while Hamas announced “rocket attacks” on several Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv.
Trying to put on the mantle of a peacemaker, Macron had planned an extensive tour of the Middle East, but instead held meetings on the conflict on the sidelines of UN climate talks.
Neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas attended the summit in Dubai, The Guardian notes.
Macron met with Netanyahu in Israel in October. Analysts say Macron's visits to Dubai and Doha illustrate the difficulties his government faces in finding a way to influence the conflict.
“France and Macron really do not find their place in this crisis,” says Agnès Levallois, vice-president of the Institute for Mediterranean Middle East Studies.