Macron to push for humanitarian truce during Israel visit as troops prepare to move in to Gaza

French president keen to show solidarity with Israel and make proposals to prevent escalation, free hostages, and work toward a two-state solution

French president Emmanuel Macron flies to Israel on Tuesday at a delicate juncture of its conflict with Hamas, coming with proposals and pushing for a humanitarian truce despite a looming ground offensive into Gaza.

His advisers said that, beyond showing solidarity with Israel, Mr Macron wanted to make “proposals that are as operational as possible” to prevent an escalation, free hostages, guarantee Israel’s security and work towards a two-state solution.

The French leader told reporters he would only travel to the region if he thought the visit would be “useful”.

Declining to elaborate on what these proposals could be, an adviser to Mr Macron said in a briefing to reporters there were things that could be done so that Israel did not feel alone in its fight against terrorism.


Mr Macron will meet Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli president Yitzhak Herzog, and centrist leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid for the opposition.

However, although he has worked the phones and spoken to the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar since the October 7th attack by Hamas militants, his visit comes late, days after his American, British, German and Italian counterparts.

Mr Macron’s ability to influence events in the region now seems limited by what some analysts say is a shift towards a more pro-Israel Anglo-American line, in contrast with the traditionally distinctive and more pro-Arab French Gaullist approach.

“France’s soft power south of the Mediterranean has considerably faded,” Karim Émile Bitar, a Beirut-based foreign policy expert at French think tank IRIS, told Reuters.

“We’re under the impression that nothing distinguishes France from other western countries now, which wasn’t historically the case, and is shocking to public opinion in the Arab world,” he said.

The French government’s decision to adopt a blanket ban on pro-Palestinian protests in France, before it was struck down by courts, is one of the reasons why Mr Macron has lost credit in the Arab world, he said.

French officials contest the idea that Mr Macron’s policy is biased, however. They say Mr Macron has constantly reaffirmed the rights of Palestinians and the position of a two-state solution. “It’s a goal France has never veered from,” the adviser said.

A meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was “most likely” as well as a stopover in one or more Arab capitals in the region, French officials said.

But Mr Macron is also constrained by an explosive situation at home and the likelihood that a number of French nationals are being held hostage by Hamas.

Some 30 French citizens were killed on October 7th and seven are still missing. One appeared in a video released by Hamas, but the fate of the other six remains unknown.

– Reuters