French President: Forced displacement of populations is 'war crime'

President Macron reiterates call for immediate cease-fire in Gaza, expresses concerns over Israeli operations at Al-Shifa hospital

Publication: 25.03.2024 - 17:23
French President: Forced displacement of populations is 'war crime'
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Forced displacement of populations is a “war crime,” French President Emmanuel Macron has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who plans a military operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah to achieve "total victory" over Palestinian group Hamas.

Macron and Netanyahu spoke over the phone, the French presidency said in a statement on Sunday.

Macron reiterated his call for an immediate and durable cease-fire in Gaza, and expressed his concerns over the continuing operations undertaken by Israeli forces around the Al-Shifa hospital. Israel claims the facility to be the command center of Hamas.

The president “once again expressed his firm opposition to an offensive on Rafah,” the statement read. “He recalled that the forced displacement of populations is a war crime in terms of international law, and Gaza’s future can only be decided in the framework of the creation of a future Palestinian state and under the responsibility of the Palestinian authority.”

Macron urged Israel to open unconditionally and without delay all land crossing borders to Gaza.

He also asked Israel to avoid any escalation in Jerusalem and the West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The president also firmly condemned the recent Israeli announcements in terms of settlements, contrary to international law,” the statement said.

Macron noted that France plans to submit to the Security Council of the UN a new draft resolution to call for an immediate and durable cease-fire and to establish the foundation of a political solution to the conflict.

Israel has waged a military offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas in which some 1,200 Israelis were killed.

More than 32,200 Palestinians have since been killed and over 74,500 injured besides causing mass destruction, displacement and shortages of necessities.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in an interim January ruling ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

It is mulling a ground invasion into Rafah, and also working on evacuation plan for the nearly 1.5 million Palestinians who are seeking refuge in Gaza’s southernmost city.

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