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French foreign minister: Gaza ceasefire efforts have failed

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday that Gaza ceasefire efforts have failed, Israeli radio reported.

In press statements following his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening, Fabius expressed his concerns that the failure to reach a ceasefire would lead to more civilian casualties.

Netanyahu criticised the stance of “some international sides,” which he did not name, because of their failure to acknowledge that Israeli attacks are “acts of self-defence”, while Hamas’s reactions are “aggressions on Israeli residential areas”, Israeli radio quoted him as saying.

Fabius’s meeting with Netanyahu came as part of his regional tour in the Middle East, in which he also met with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts to discuss the situation in Gaza and efforts to broker a ceasefire.

In his tour, Fabius stressed that “Israel has a right to exist as a nation,” and that firing rockets at Israel is “unacceptable.” He also stressed on Palestinians’ right to establish their independent state.

The French minister reaffirmed his country’s support for the Egyptian initiative, sponsored by the Arab League and accepted by Israel, but rejected by Hamas.

Hamas has turned down the Egyptian initiative, proposed on Monday, saying it was not consulted, and that the proposal did not meet the conditions of Palestinians.

Since July 7, Israel has launched deadly airstrikes against Gaza, followed by a limited ground operation which began on Thursday.

The onslaught has left at least 341 Palestinian civilians dead and 2560 wounded. The Gaza Strip has been placed under Israeli siege since Hamas’s victory in legislative elections in 2006.

According to the Israeli army, three Israeli soldiers and two civilians have been killed since the start of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas, however, says that 14 Israeli soldiers have been killed by Gazan resistance.


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