Well, it was only a matter of time. French President Emmanuel Macron came out and joined the chorus of anti-Israel activists telling Israel to stop attacking Hamas after the terrorist group killed over 1,400 Israelis during a surprise attack on October 7.
During a Friday interview on BBC News, Macron condemned the bombing of “babies, ladies, and old people.” But, of course, he wasn’t talking about Hamas, which started this current conflict by killing babies, ladies, and old people on October 7. He was talking about Israel’s retaliation against Hamas, which enjoys using babies, ladies, and old people living in Gaza as human shields.
Macron argued that the “clear conclusion” of all governments and agencies present at a humanitarian aid conference in Paris the day before was “that there is no other solution than first a humanitarian pause, going to a ceasefire, which will allow [us] to protect…all civilians having nothing to do with terrorists.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clapped back in a written statement. “The crimes that Hamas [is] committing today in Gaza will be committed tomorrow in Paris, New York and anywhere in the world.”
Macron’s comments reflect a sentiment that is all too common among the anti-Israel crowd, which blames Israel for Hamas’ actions while also blaming Israel for its own actions. When discussing these matters, these folks tend to downplay, if not ignore, Hamas’ role in starting and inflaming this conflict. The terrorist organization has been the primary oppressor of Palestinians – especially since it took over governance of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Even further, getting civilians killed is one of Hamas’ top priorities, which is why it forces them to act as human shields against Israel’s airstrikes. The purpose for this is two-fold, as I explained in a previous article.
The group does this because it creates a win-win situation for them. If Israel decides not to attack an area due to the possibility of civilian casualties, Hamas can safely keep its operatives and weaponry in those areas. If Israel does decide to attack, the resulting civilian casualties can be used as a propaganda tool against the Jewish state, which plays well for anti-Israeli forces like the United Nations and others.
The strategic logic of human shields has two components. It is based on an awareness of Israel’s desire to minimise collateral damage, and of Western public opinion’s sensitivity towards civilian casualties. If the IDF uses lethal force and causes an increase in civilian casualties, Hamas can utilise that as a lawfare tool: it can accuse Israel of committing war crimes, which could result in the imposition of a wide array of sanctions. Alternatively, if the IDF limits its use of military force in Gaza to avoid collateral damage, Hamas will be less susceptible to Israeli attacks, and thereby able to protect its assets while continuing to fight. Moreover, despite the Israeli public’s high level of support for the Israeli political and military leadership during operations, civilian casualties are one of the friction points between Israeli left-wing and right-wing supporters, with the former questioning the outcomes of the operation.
Macron’s calling for a ceasefire without addressing the root causes of the conflict or figuring out ways to ensure measures against future attacks is not going to solve the problem or move the region closer to a peaceful solution. Hamas’ objective is not to have a peace agreement that works for both parties. The organization has publicly stated on numerous occasions since it was founded that its aim is to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jewish people living in the area.
Taking these facts into account, calling on Israel to stop its attack against Hamas makes absolutely no sense. Any chance for a peaceful solution will occur after Hamas is eradicated, not before.