update deskIsrael at War

Macron: Forced transfer of civilians from Rafah a ‘war crime’

The French president has accused Israel of killing women and children in Gaza.

French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018. Photo by Alexandros ichailidis/Shutterstock.
French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018. Photo by Alexandros ichailidis/Shutterstock.

French President Emanuel Macron said on Sunday that the forcible transfer of Gazans from Rafah ahead of a prospective Israeli military operation in the city would constitute a “war crime,” according to Agence France-Presse.

In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron reportedly reiterated his opposition to any Israeli military operation to destroy Hamas’s last remaining battalions, who according to Israel are holed up in the city, and said Paris was planning to circulate a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council calling for “an immediate and lasting ceasefire.”

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office did not release a readout of the call.

Last week, Netanyahu stressed that Israeli forces would enter Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip with or without support from the international community, including the United States.

“There were times we agreed with our friends, and there were times we did not agree with them,” the premier said. “Ultimately, we always did what was necessary for our safety, and we will do so this time as well.”

Netanyahu confirmed he had already approved the IDF’s operational plans for Rafah and said he would “soon” green light an outline for the evacuation of noncombatants from the city.

On Friday, Netanyahu reiterated the message during a meeting in Tel Aviv with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In November, Macron claimed during a BBC interview that Israel was killing women and children in Gaza.

“De facto—today civilians are being bombed. These babies, these women, these old people are being bombed and killed. So there is no reason for it and no legitimacy. So we do plead with Israel to stop,” the French leader said.

The remarks drew condemnation from Netanyahu, who said that Macron “made a serious mistake, factually and morally” and that “the responsibility for any harm to civilians lies with Hamas-ISIS and not with Israel.”

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