Monday, February 26, 2024

Macron opens Gaza aid talks with appeal to Israel to protect civilians

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Paris, Nov 9: French President Emmanuel Macron opened a Gaza aid conference on Thursday with an appeal for Israel to protect civilians as it fights Hamas, saying “all lives have equal worth” and that fighting terrorism “can never be carried out without rules.”
The gathering in Paris brought together officials from Western and Arab nations, the United Nations and nongovernmental organisations, with the aim of providing urgent aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip that is being pounded by Israel in its war against Hamas. Israeli authorities weren’t invited but have been informed of the talks, Macron’s office said.
Macron reiterated calls for a humanitarian pause in Israel’s operations.
He said that by attacking Israel on October 7, Hamas “shouldered the responsibility for exposing Palestinians to terrible consequences,” and he again defended Israel’s right to defend itself.
But Macron also stressed that civilians must be protected. “It’s absolutely essential. It is non-negotiable,” he said. “All lives have equal worth and there are no double standards for those of us with universal and humanist values,” he said. “Fighting terrorism can never be carried out without rules. Israel knows that. The trap of terrorism is for all of us the same: giving in to violence and renouncing our values,” French President added. More than 1.5 million people – or about 70 per cent of Gaza’s population – have fled their homes, and an estimated USD 1.2 billion is needed to respond to the crisis in Palestinian areas.
Longer term, Macron also said diplomatic work must resume on bringing peace to the Middle East, with a two-state solution. “We must learn from our errors and no longer accept that peace in the Middle East always be pushed back to later,” he said.
Officials from over 50 nations were attending, including several European countries, the United States and regional powers such as Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries. Also attending is Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who urged the international community to “put an end to the war.” (AP)

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