Politics, World, Middle East, Europe

French MP slams foreign minister's support for Israel despite killing of staffer in Gaza

'France must say that what happened was unacceptable,' says Manuel Bompard, deploring killing of nearly 20,000 civilians in Gaza since Oct. 7

Umit Donmez  | 17.12.2023 - Update : 17.12.2023
French MP slams foreign minister's support for Israel despite killing of staffer in Gaza


A left-wing French lawmaker on Sunday criticized the foreign minister reiterating support for Israel despite the recent killing of a ministry staffer in Gaza, now newly identified.

At a pro-Palestine demonstration in Paris, Manuel Bompard told Anadolu that French authorities' reaction was "as scandalous as it was at the start."

"France must say that what happened was unacceptable and that unfortunately, this adds up to nearly 20,000 civilian casualties in Gaza," he added, referring to the latest death toll.

He also stressed that France must "make its voice heard, a strong voice for peace, stronger than what it is now.”

He urged “adjustments” to address shortcomings which he said had muffled France's position, adding that mobilization for Palestine in France continues.

Foreign minister's remarks

Despite the killing of a Foreign Ministry staff in southern Gaza a day earlier, France's top diplomat on Sunday reiterated the country’s support for Israel.

"I have come here also to mention the importance of a new humanitarian truce ... and a truce that should lead us to a humanitarian cease-fire," Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told a joint news conference with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen during a two-day visit to the Middle East.

Earlier, on X, she said her visit would stress “Israel's right to defend itself while strictly respecting humanitarian law and protecting civilian populations."

Addressing Cohen in another post, she pointed to "France's attachment to Israel's security in the face of terrorism."

She also stressed the urgency of "a humanitarian truce in Gaza" to release hostages and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Slain French Foreign Ministry staffer identified

A French Foreign Ministry staffer succumbed to injuries from an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in southern Gaza, said the ministry late Saturday.

The house of a French Consulate colleague where the staffer took shelter was bombed on Wednesday evening, the ministry said.

"Our colleague has been working for France since 2002," the ministry said in a statement, offering condolences to the victim's family.

The victim was Ahmad Abu Shamla, according to Elsa Faucillon, a left-wing French lawmaker.

"He has worked for the French Institute in Gaza for 23 years," she wrote on X on Sunday.

"France did not put his four elder sons on the list of persons authorized to leave Gaza. He chose to stay with them, and lost his life in a bombardment," she said.

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip from the air and land, imposed a siege and mounted a ground offensive in retaliation for a cross-border attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 18,800 Palestinians, mostly children and women, have since been killed and 51,000 injured in Israeli attacks, according to Gaza’s health authorities.

The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stands at 1,200, while more than 130 hostages are still held by the Palestinian group in Gaza, according to official figures.

* Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara

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