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President Macron to fly to Israel to push for humanitarian truce, proposals

French President Emmanuel Macron will fly 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, 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 upped the ante before the trip, telling 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, a Macron adviser only said in a briefing to reporters there were things that could be done so that Israel doesn’t feel alone in its fight against terrorism.

Macron will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Isaac 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 7 attack by Hamas, his visit comes late, days after his American, British, German and Italian counterparts.

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 Emile 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.

Source: SABC

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