“It will take ten years”
Macron doubts Netanyahu’s war aims
December 3, 2023, 4:24 a.m
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With the end of the lull in fighting between Israel and Hamas, France’s president is resuming his role as self-appointed war adviser. Netanyahu’s goals in the Gaza Strip are unrealistic; instead, a permanent ceasefire is needed, says Macron.
After the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip expired, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Israel of a long war and called for the protection of the Palestinian civilian population. The war against the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas has “reached a point where the Israeli authorities must define their goal and desired end state more precisely,” said Macron at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Dubai.
Regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goal of completely destroying Hamas, Macron said: “What is the complete destruction of Hamas and does anyone believe that that is possible? If so, the war will last for ten years.” The French president called for “intensified efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire.” Macron traveled from Dubai to Doha to meet Qatar’s head of state, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Qatar plays a leading mediating role in the war between Israel and Hamas. When Macron arrived in the Qatari capital, Israel had already ordered its negotiator back from there because talks about a new ceasefire in the Gaza Strip were at a “dead end”.
Netanyahu had previously announced that he would continue the war against the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip “until we have achieved all our goals.” This includes the release of all Israeli hostages and the elimination of Hamas, Netanyahu said. The continuation of the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip is “indispensable”. “Our soldiers have been preparing for a total victory against Hamas during the days of the ceasefire,” Netanyahu said at his first press conference since the end of the ceasefire.
Pentagon draws comparison to the war against IS
A seven-day ceasefire between Israel and the radical Islamic group Hamas expired on Friday morning, which was used to release Hamas hostages and to deliver aid to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army then continued its military operation against Hamas, while the radical Islamic Palestinian organization again fired rockets at Israel.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called on Israel to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip. Speaking at a defense forum in California, he said he had “learned a thing or two about urban warfare” while fighting in Iraq and leading the US offensive against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia. “Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas,” Austin said. “And the international alliance against ISIS has worked hard to protect civilians and establish humanitarian corridors even during the toughest fighting.”
“The lesson is not that you can win a war in urban areas by protecting civilians,” concluded the US Secretary of Defense. “The lesson is that you can only win a war in urban areas by protecting civilians.” When military forces “drive civilians into the arms of the enemy,” they “turn a tactical victory into a strategic defeat,” Austin warned.