French President Macron says Israel has 'no justification' to bomb women and babies in Gaza

Israel's Prime Minister said Hamas was responsible for harm to civilians from airstrikes.

French President Emmanuel Macron says there is "no justification" to attack civilians and has called on Israel to stop bombing and killing women and babies in Gaza.

Mr Macron called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the region, as it was estimated that more than 5,000 children had been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of London for a pro-Palestine march on Saturday, which coincides with Armistice Day.

“I think there is no justification precisely to attack civilians,” Mr Macron told the BBC.

“De facto, today civilians are bombed, de facto, there’s babies, there’s ladies, there’s old people are bombed and killed.

“There is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop.”

French President Emmanuel Macron Credit: AP

Israel's Prime Minister responded to Mr Macron on social media, saying Hamas is to blame for the harm to civilians.

Since Hamas militants attacked Israel on 7 October, Gaza officials said the territory’s death toll has surpassed 11,000 while more than 100,000 Palestinians have fled south over the past two days, according to Israel.

Asked if he was disappointed the United States and the UK were not joining him in a call for ceasefire, Mr Macron said: “No, I hope they will”.

“I think it is very important to see the whole story, but I think this is the only solution we have, this ceasefire,” he said.

Mr Macron refused to say whether he believed Israel had broken international law.

Mr Macron said: “We do recognise the right (for Israel) to protect themselves. And one month after this terrorist attack I think it would be not the right way to deal with a partner and a friend, just to say you will be condemned and you are guilty.”

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas is to blame for the harm to civilians.

He said: “The responsibility for any harm to civilians lies with Hamas – ISIS and not with Israel.”

On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the UK Government supports a “humanitarian pause” in the Gaza Strip above a wider ceasefire.

Speaking at the G7 Foreign Minister talks in Japan, Mr Cleverly said a ceasefire would hamper Israel’s ability to defend itself.

He said: “We have seen and heard absolutely nothing that makes us believe that Hamas leadership is serious about (a) ceasefire.”

James Cleverly was appointed Home Secretary on November 13 Credit: Stefan Rousseau, PA

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing calls to support a humanitarian ceasefire rather than a pause from within his party.

Sir Keir said: “There is a division on whether we should call for a humanitarian pause, which is my position as I’ve set out very, very clearly, and some who think we should have a ceasefire, which again I’ve rejected very clearly.”

The White House announced this week that the Israeli government agreed to halt its offensive in Gaza for four hours each day and open a second route for those looking to escape the north of the territory.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Friday in New Delhi that “far too many” Palestinians have died and more needs to be done to save lives and get aid where it is most needed.

Mr Blinken said the US “appreciates” Israel’s steps to minimise civilian casualties but that is not enough.

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