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update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu, Macron talk Hamas, Hezbollah, countering Houthis

The Israeli premier made clear that his government was determined to work in every way to return the residents of the north and south to their homes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday evening with French President Emmanuel Macron to thank him for Paris’s involvement in defending freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and its willingness to help restore security along the border with Lebanon.

Netanyahu also updated the French leader on developments in the war to destroy Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and the effort to bring home some 129 hostages still being held by the Palestinian terror group.

Netanyahu made clear that his government was determined to work in every way to return the residents of the north and south to their homes.

Earlier Wednesday, Hezbollah fired a salvo of 18 rockets at Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra in the Western Galilee, with several Iron Dome interceptions reported.

France has deep economic interests in Lebanon due to its colonial past in the Middle East and thus retains some sway over the Hezbollah-dominated government in Beirut.

Paris has also joined the United States-led multinational force to counter the maritime threat posed by Iran-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen.

On Tuesday night, the U.S. military intercepted 12 attack drones and five missiles in the southern Red Sea launched by Houthis.

Two hours earlier, the IDF announced that a fighter jet had shot down a “hostile aerial target that was on its way to Israeli territory,” adding that the “air control unit tracked the target throughout the incident.”

Last month, Macron called his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog to clarify remarks criticizing Jerusalem’s military campaign in Gaza.

During a BBC interview, Macron claimed 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,” said Macron.

In response, Netanyahu said that the French president had “made a serious mistake, factually and morally” and stressed that “the responsibility for any harm to civilians lies with Hamas-ISIS and not with Israel.”

Macron paid a solidarity visit to Israel in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. However, he has since repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire, which would effectively leave Hamas in power in Gaza.

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