‘These babies, these ladies, these old people’: Macron mourns civilian deaths and urges Israel to ceasefire. | ET REALITY

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Against a backdrop of growing international outrage over civilian casualties as Israel wages war against Hamas, President Emmanuel Macron of France on Friday called on Israel to stop the killings in Gaza.

“De facto, today, civilians are bombed, de facto.” he told the BBC in an interview. “These babies, these ladies, these elderly people are bombed and killed. So there is no reason for it nor legitimacy. That is why we urge Israel to stop.”

France, like much of the Western world, considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and Macron emphasized that his country had experienced terrorism and condemned Hamas’ devastating attack on Israel on October 7. But he said there was “no justification” for bombing civilians not linked to Hamas.

The comments came a day after a humanitarian aid conference in Paris focused on the war in Gaza. In the BBC interview, Macron said the conference had produced a consensus among aid agencies and governments that a humanitarian pause followed by a ceasefire was necessary to protect civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a ceasefire would depend on the release of the hostages. Israel says 239 people kidnapped in Israel on October 7 remain detained.

On Friday night, Netanyahu responded to Macron and issued a statement around midnight in Israel in which he blamed Hamas for any harm suffered by civilians in Gaza and called on world leaders to condemn the group.

“While Israel does everything it can to avoid harming civilians and asks them to leave combat zones, Hamas-ISIS does everything it can to prevent them from leaving safe areas and uses them as a human shield,” Netanyahu said, repeating a parallel that he has made. He sought to establish a before and after between Hamas and the Islamic State, which has carried out and inspired terrorist attacks around the world.

Netanyahu warned that the crimes Hamas “is committing today in Gaza will be committed tomorrow in Paris, New York and anywhere in the world.”

Just a few weeks ago, Macron and Netanyahu met in Tel Aviv during a visit that the French president said was aimed at conveying his country’s solidarity. “solidarity” with Israel in your time of mourning.

But international support for Israel following the October 7 attack has eroded as images of the destruction and death in Gaza from Israel’s military campaign emerge daily. Macron, along with leaders elsewhere in Europe and the United States, is increasingly questioning Israel’s military response and calling for a ceasefire to save civilian lives.

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