The French president, Emmanuel Macron, began a two-day trip to Israel this Tuesday with a complicated mission: to show his support for Israel in the fight against Hamas but, at the same time, to mark the limits of its actions in Gaza so that there is no more cruelty towards civilians. Send a message outside the home, but also inside, since France is the EU country with the largest Jewish community, and the country where the most Muslims live in all of Europe: 10% of the population.
In this diplomatic balancing act, he has asked to include Hamas as a target of the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, but he has also said that The fight against terrorism “must be relentless, but not without rulesbecause we are democracies that fight against terrorism, but we respect the rules of war,” he said in a joint appearance after meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned him that Hamas “are the new Nazis”, who “also threaten Europe.”
Macron is referring to the coalition that was created in 2014 under US leadership in Iraq to help the country combat the Islamic State. The French contribution was articulated under the so-called “operation Chammal.” Sources from the Elysée have contextualized the president’s words and have explained that it is about “be inspired by the experience” of this coalition and “see which aspects are replicable with Hamas.” The idea is to discuss it with the allies and Israel. This coalition is not limited only to operations on the ground, but also involved training Iraqi soldiers, sharing information and pursuing terrorist financing.
Macron travels to Israel after the US president, Joe Biden, the German chancellor and the British prime minister have done so. His message has gone further, because he has been the most forceful in both ways. On the one hand, Macron intended to please Israel, not only by showing his support and solidarity, but also by equating Hamas with the Islamic State or Al Qaeda and by asking that it be included in the list of objectives to be defeated by the international coalition.
It also sought to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, by marking the red lines in Israel’s right to defend itself, such as giving “the population access to humanitarian aid” and “restoring electricity to hospitals.” that electricity “not be used to wage war”. Macron is the only leader who will meet with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen. He will do so in Ramallah this afternoon.