Israeli President Isaac Herzog voiced his support for French President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-Hamas coalition proposal.
Herzog praised Macron’s idea and emphasised the importance of a collective effort to eliminate the Palestinian Islamist terror organisation, likening it to the co-ordinated response against ISIS.
“I like Macron’s idea. I thought it was innovative, original, it makes sense,” Herzog said.
The origin of this coalition idea can be traced back to Macron’s visit to Israel on October 24. He proposed the idea of broadening the scope of the existing anti-ISIS international coalition to include Hamas.
Macron urged the creation of a regional and international alliance to confront terrorist organisations that pose a threat to global security.
The move is showing splits within the European Union’s response to how it wants to deal with the war between Hamas and Israel.
Immediately following the outbreak of the conflict on October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel leaving hundreds of Israeli civilians dead and hundreds taken hostage, the EU appeared to take a strong pro-Israel line.
In the following weeks, a number of Member States baulked at the response.
With the Gaza Strip being a densely populated urban enclave, many are concerned that the Israeli response will put innumerable Palestinian civilians in the crossfire.
At the European Council summit of October 26 and 27, a statement was released calling for the creation humanitarian aid corridors and for a ceasefire.
Macron’s office struck a more cautious tone, saying that France was only working “on ideas of action against Hamas, with our partners and Israel”.
That comes as France faces much internal division over the conflict, not only between the Right and Left but also between the large Muslim and Jewish communities in the nation.
Herzog unequivocally endorsed Macron’s vision. The Israeli leader stated that building a coalition modelled after the one fighting ISIS would make logical sense and would also serve as a “litmus test” of solidarity among nations.
He said: “This threat [Hamas] must be eradicated by a major effort of the international community such as they’ve done to ISIS.”
Israel has been gradually increasing its troop presence in the Gaza Strip, characterising it as the “second stage of the war,” although not explicitly labelling it as a ground invasion.
Herzog confirmed these operations, emphasising it was a mission to dismantle Hamas’ military infrastructure and secure the release of hostages, all while ensuring the safety of Israeli citizens.
In addition to discussing the geopolitical situation, Herzog voiced concern about the rise of violent anti-Semitic protests.
He pointed to a recent incident in the Russian region of Dagestan, where a crowd stormed the main airport to protest against the arrival of an Israeli plane, resulting in injuries and arrests.
Herzog described this as “shocking” and “extremely worrying”, describing it as purely anti-Semitic and potentially incited by anti-Israel sentiment.