France's Macron demands justice after shooting of Palestinians in Gaza

02 March 2024 - 12:10
By Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron. (File Photo)
Image: Gonzalo Fuentes/REUTERS French President Emmanuel Macron. (File Photo)

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was angered by what Gaza authorities said was the shooting of more than 100 Palestinians seeking humanitarian aid and demanded “truth and justice” regarding the role of Israeli soldiers in the incident.

Gaza health authorities said Israeli forces on Thursday shot dead more than 100 Palestinians as they waited for an aid delivery.

A total of 30,320 Palestinians have been confirmed killed and 71,533 others injured in Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said on Saturday. At least 92 Palestinians have been killed and 156 others injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry added. 

Israel blamed the deaths on crowds that surrounded aid trucks, saying victims had been trampled or run over. An Israeli official also said troops had “in a limited response” later fired on crowds they felt had posed a threat. He dismissed the casualty toll given by Gaza authorities but gave no figure himself.

“Deep indignation at the images coming from Gaza where civilians have been targeted by Israeli soldiers. I express my strongest condemnation of these shootings and call for truth, justice and respect for international law,” Macron said on X.

He said it was imperative for an immediate ceasefire in the war to be put in place.

Speaking on France Inter radio on Friday, foreign minister Stephane Sejourne said Paris would back the UN's call for an independent investigation.

“The humanitarian situation has been catastrophic for several weeks now and what happened is indefensible and unjustifiable. Israel needs to be able to hear it and it needs to stop,” Sejourne told France Inter.

“We have gone a step further, people are fighting for food and there are riots. I heard the request from the secretary-general of the UN to open an independent investigation and I think that France will support this,” Sejourne said.