French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said that Israel should clarify its goals in the war against Hamas, claiming that totally destroying the organization could take 10 years.
"We are at a moment when Israeli authorities must more precisely define their objectives and their final goal: the total destruction of Hamas, does anyone think it is possible? If this is the case, the war will last 10 years," Macron told a press conference at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, as quoted by Reuters.
"There is no lasting security for Israel in the region if its security is achieved at the cost of Palestinian lives and thus of the resentment of public opinions in the region. Let's be collectively lucid," the French President added.
Macron also said France was "very concerned" by the resumption of violence in Gaza and that he was heading to Qatar to help in efforts to kickstart a new truce ahead of a ceasefire.
Israel announced on Friday morning the renewal of fighting in Gaza, after the Hamas terror organization violated the terms of the operational pause.
The announcement came after the original ceasefire ended at 7:00 a.m. and after Hamas failed to provide a new list of hostages that would have been freed on Friday evening. In addition, Hamas fired rocket barrages towards southern Israel early in the morning.
Macron recently caused an uproar after he said during an interview with the BBC that Israel "should stop killing women and babies in Gaza".
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the French President's comments in a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, saying that Macron "made a grave error" and adding, "We don't need these moral lectures."
A French political official later rejected Netanyahu's criticism, clarifying that Macron "has not changed his position" on Israeli action against Hamas but believes that Israel can and should do more to prevent harm to Palestinian Arab civilians in Gaza.
Macron later called President Isaac Herzog to clarify the comments, telling Herzog that he does not and did not intend to accuse Israel of intentionally harming innocent civilians in the campaign against Hamas.
Macron also emphasized that he unequivocally supports Israel's right and duty to self-defense and expressed his support for Israel's war against Hamas.