The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, announced that he will begin a tour of the Middle East on Tuesday to discuss and research the situation in the Gaza Strip and regional security issues in the area, at the request of the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron.
Lecornu explained in a post published on the platform “X,” formerly known as Twitter, that his tour “will begin in Egypt and continue in the Gulf. It will end on Friday in Israel, the first trip by a French Minister of the Armed Forces since 2000.”
À la demande du Président de la République, je me rends dès aujourd’hui au Proche et au Moyen-Orient pour échanger sur la situation à Gaza et sur la sécurité régionale, dans le prolongement des nombreux contacts entretenus depuis le 7 octobre.
— Sébastien Lecornu (@SebLecornu) November 14, 2023
He said this is “the first time a French defense minister visits the country since 2000,” according to Al-Arabiya.
Lecornu had announced on Sunday that the humanitarian issue and the protection of Palestinian civilians in Gaza are “very fundamental” matters, requiring “measures” from Israel.
In an interview on the news channel “LCI,” Lecornu said: “This is important… Israel is a democratic state, and what Israel does affects us.”
He added that “the way Israel deals with the conflict will have an impact on the security environment that the Middle East will find itself in, in the next 10 or 15 years.”
Lecornu emphasized the necessity that “Hamas should not be able to cause harm,” adding at the same time that “the way civilians are treated can have an impact on containing escalation.”
While France calls for a humanitarian truce in Gaza, it also supports Israel’s right to self-defense.
Lecornu continued: “The dilemma facing the Israeli army is that it is clear that Hamas uses civilians as human shields. Why this question about hospitals and schools?.. Because they often constitute infrastructure.. that can protect or hide military infrastructure” for Hamas.
The spark of war erupted in the Gaza Strip after the attacks carried out by Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization, on Israel on October 7th, which resulted in the death of 1200 people, most of them civilians, including women and children, and the abduction of about 240, including foreigners, and their transfer to the sector.
In response to the attacks, Israel conducted continuous airstrikes and ground incursions into the sector, resulting in the death of more than 11,000 people, most of them civilians, including women and children; in the Israel-Hamas War.