Decisions made by political leaders are clear for all to see except by the politicians themselves, French President Emanuel Macron would have us believe. At the beginning of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza in October, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany issued a statement expressing “steadfast and united support to the State of Israel,” while also pledging to “support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people.”
As the death toll from Israel’s bombing of Gaza passed 15,000, Macron asked Israel to clarify its objectives. “We are at a moment where the Israeli authorities will have to define more precisely their objective and the desired final state,” he declared during a press conference in Dubai on the sidelines of the UN COP28 climate summit. “The total destruction of Hamas, what is it, and does anyone think it is possible? If that’s it, the war will last 10 years, and I don’t think anyone knows how to seriously define this objective.”
Did Macron really believe Israel’s security narrative, when its surveillance technology is sought after by governments worldwide and could have prevented any infiltration from Gaza? Furthermore, is Israel’s slant on the US war on terror believable when ethnic cleansing is a bigger priority for the Zionist colonial project than “going after Hamas”? If one had to turn the narrative on Israel, how does a leader decide to bomb an enclave with the risk of killing its own settler-colonial citizens? Everything and everyone are clearly acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of “greater Israel”.
Macron had also called for a humanitarian pause, a lull in Israel’s genocidal bombing of Gaza. As with other world leaders, he imparted the contradiction of bombing while protecting civilians, the kind of double speak of which the UN is so fond to make human rights even remotely relevant. The protection of civilians is rarely heeded in any war. In Gaza, where people have no freedom of movement, the protection of civilians from Israel’s military aggression is impossible. The Palestinians have nowhere to go. Forced displacement does not count as protecting civilian lives. These are basic facts of which Macron and other world leaders are aware. Yet Israel’s colonial narrative seeps out of every international statement that they make. This includes asking Israel for precise objectives, when the only precision we see is in Israel’s precision missile strikes, where the destruction speaks for itself.
If Israel continues refusing to articulate its objectives which are obvious to anyone, what will world leaders do? Will the international community endorse the lie about going after Hamas while calling upon Israel to protect the colonised Palestinians from colonial violence? History, and not only that of Israel – France can look at its own colonial trajectory – proves that colonial entities do not protect the colonised. This means that the international community has a role to play in stopping Israel’s violence, if only it ever really believed in protecting civilians, or wasn’t so invested in Israel’s existence. Israel is ethnically cleansing Gaza and Macron knows it, as do all world leaders. Macron should stop asking rhetorical questions and step away from such hypocritical hyperbole and his rhetorical questions that are as deadly as Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.