Tel Aviv, Israel:
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to express his country’s “full solidarity” with Israel following the deadly attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7, according to an AFP journalist.
His visit comes more than two weeks after Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing at least 1,400 people on the first day of the attack, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burned, according to Israeli officials.
Among them, 30 were French citizens.
Macron was due to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express France’s “full solidarity” with Israel after that attack, the French presidency said.
He was also expected to call for the “preservation of civilians” in Gaza amid Israel’s relentless bombardment and preparations for a ground invasion of the crowded Palestinian enclave.
According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, more than 5,000 people have died in the Israeli attacks, most of them women and children.
In particular, Macron will call for a “humanitarian ceasefire” to allow urgently needed aid to the Gaza Strip, whose 2.4 million people are largely excluded from water, food, electricity and other basic supplies following an Israeli blockade, the Elysee Palace said.
Macron and Netanyahu were scheduled to hold a joint news conference at 1:00 p.m. (1000 GMT).
The French head of state was also scheduled to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog and opposition leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in Jerusalem.
And in Tel Aviv he was scheduled to meet the families of French and French-Israeli nationals killed in the Hamas attack or held hostage in Gaza.
Seven French citizens are still missing: one of them, a French woman, is confirmed to be among more than 200 people Israel says were taken hostage by Hamas.
Macron said that the others were also hostages, but there is no confirmation of this yet.
The French president also aims to continue his efforts “to prevent a dangerous escalation in the region,” the Elysée said, amid growing concerns about increasing cross-border exchanges between Israel and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah.
Macron will propose restarting a “true peace process” aimed at creating a viable Palestinian state in exchange for guarantees from regional powers for “the security of Israel.”
There will also likely be exchanges with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and leaders of Gulf states, the Elysee Palace said.
US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni have already visited Israel.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Source : www.ndtv.com