French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed an expansion of the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria to include operations against the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, in Gaza. Macron made this announcement during his visit to Israel, where he emphasized that France and Israel share the common enemy of terrorism. While the proposal lacks specific details on how the coalition, led by the United States and comprised of numerous countries, including Israel, could tackle Hamas, it has ignited a spirited debate.
This proposal has left many questioning its feasibility, implications, and the potential consequences of widening the coalition’s scope. Macron’s call is a response to a recent attack by Hamas militants, in which thirty French citizens were killed, and over 200 individuals were taken hostage. Additionally, the Palestinian health ministry reported over 5,000 casualties due to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in the aftermath of the attack.
The idea to broaden the coalition’s mission to fight against Hamas stems from the successes and expertise gained in the fight against IS. The US-led coalition against IS was formed in September 2014 and has been involved in not only ground operations but also the training of Iraqi forces, information sharing among partner countries, and combating terrorism financing. Macron’s office has expressed its willingness to explore with Israel and coalition partners what measures could be applicable in the case of Hamas.
The French President, who prioritizes the release of nine French hostages held in Gaza, is advocating for a tougher stance on Hamas, emphasizing that the fight should be “without mercy but not without rules.” However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not directly respond to Macron’s proposal but framed the battle as one between the “axis of evil” and “the free world.” Netanyahu stressed that the conflict goes beyond the interests of any one nation, calling it a battle for the global community.
As discussions around this proposal unfold, it’s essential to consider the broader implications. The fight against Hamas is deeply intertwined with the complex and longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, raising questions about the potential for further regional instability and violence. A significant challenge will be defining the rules of engagement and ensuring that civilians are protected, given the densely populated nature of Gaza.
Macron’s proposal has sparked mixed reactions globally. Many are concerned about the potential consequences of this move and the impact it might have on the already fragile situation in the Middle East. Others argue that a stronger stance against groups like Hamas is necessary to combat terrorism effectively. This proposal underscores the importance of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but it also raises complex questions about the methods and boundaries of such cooperation.