French President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday (Oct 24), called for the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria to be widened in order to combat the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza after it launched an unprecedented attack on Israel.
While speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Macron said the countries fighting the Islamic State “should also fight against Hamas.”
“We should build a regional and international coalition to battle against terrorist groups that threaten us all,” he said while addressing a joint news conference.
He also highlighted that France and Israel shared terrorism as their “common enemy”.
“France is ready for the international coalition against Daesh in which we are taking part for operations in Iraq and Syria to also fight against Hamas,” he told reporters, referring to Islamic State.
Macron warned against the potential risks of regional violence while also stating that the battle against Hamas “must be without mercy but not without rules”.
Though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not directly comment on Macron’s proposal but said the fight was a battle between the “axis of evil” and “the free world”.
“This battle is not merely our own … it’s everybody’s battle,” he said.
An Elysee Palace source said Macron’s proposal “draws inspiration from the experience of the Global Coalition against Daesh and seeing what aspects can be replicated against Hamas”.
Freeing hostages a priority, says Macron
Macron, who met the families of French victims at Tel Aviv airport, said freeing nine French hostages was a priority.
“The first objective we should have today is the release of all hostages, without any distinction, because this is an awful crime to play with the lives of children, adults, old people, civilians and soldiers,” Macron said after meeting Israel’s President Isaac Herzog.
He added that the battle must be fought without “enlarging this conflict.”
Macron’s visit was aimed at preventing an escalation of the war, freeing hostages, guaranteeing Israel’s security and working towards a two-state solution, said the presidential advisers. He will push for a humanitarian ceasefire, they added.
His official visit to Jerusalem comes after the European Union foreign ministers struggled to agree on a call for a “humanitarian pause” in the war on Monday (Oct 23).