France calls for 'immediate and durable humanitarian truce' in Gaza war

AFP , Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Dec 2023

France calls for an "immediate and durable" truce in the Gaza war, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Sunday, stressing Paris is "deeply concerned" over the situation in the Palestinian territory.

Gaza
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna speaks with the media as she arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. AP

 

"Too many civilians are being killed," the top diplomat said in remarks alongside her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen in Tel Aviv, as Israel presses on with its military offensive that has left much of Gaza in ruins and sent tensions spiralling across the region.

Paris on Saturday condemned an Israeli strike in Gaza that killed a French foreign ministry employee, demanding that "light be shed" on the circumstances.

Colonna is also due to meet the families of French captives still held in Gaza and to call for an "immediate and durable new humanitarian truce," according to a foreign ministry statement.

The truce should lead to a lasting ceasefire to release all captives and deliver aid to Gaza, it said.

Israel has come under increasing international pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza, where its offensive against Gaza has killed at least 18,800 people, mostly women and children.

French President Francois Macron was among the first European leaders to visit Tel Aviv after 7 October, declaring his country's unconditional support for the Israeli war objectives.

However, amid rising domestic opposition to the Israeli indiscriminate killing campaign in Gaza, Macron shifted gears and started to call for humanitarian pauses in the war to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. 

On 8 December, France, a permanent member of the UNSC, voted for a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war.

Condemning settler violence
 

The French top diplomat will also meet her Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in the occupied West Bank.

Shortly before she arrived in Israel, Colonna condemned increasing attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank.

"Since 7 October, unfortunately, some settlers, driven by their ideological blindness... have committed crimes" against Palestinians, she said, adding that "these settlers must be punished".

More than 280 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since the war in Gaza erupted on 7 October, health officials say.

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