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With Israel visit, Macron seeks to balance solidarity with Israel and calls for peace

(JTA) — French President Emmauel Macron visited Jerusalem on Tuesday, attempting to balance his solidarity with Israel alongside his calls for humanitarian aid in Gaza and a political peace process with the Palestinians.

Thirty French citizens were killed in the Hamas incursion into Israel on Oct. 7, which left over 1,400 people in Israel dead and over 200 taken hostage. Nine French nationals are still missing and believed to be held captive. About 50 other French citizens are stuck in the besieged Gaza Strip, which has been pounded with Israeli airstrikes.

After a closed-door meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron said in a press conference that their countries shared the common enemy of terrorism. He added that Hamas’ onslaught dealt France its worst death toll from a terror attack since 2016, when 86 people were killed during a Bastille Day celebration in Nice.

Macron also met with about 30 family members of French and French-Israeli victims of Hamas in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

But he additionally urged Israel to adhere to the laws of war and protect civilians in Gaza, who are living in a dire humanitarian crisis with dwindling access to water, food and electricity. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, the war has killed more than 6,000 Palestinians trapped in the coastal enclave.

“The fight must be merciless, but not lawless, because we are democracies and we are fighting against terrorists,” said Macron. “Democracies respect the rules of war and ensure humanitarian access. Democracies do not target civilians, neither in Gaza nor elsewhere.”

The French president has emerged as one of the most prominent Western voices pushing Netanyahu to allow humanitarian aid in Gaza. He urged Israel to reestablish electricity for hospitals, while ensuring the electricity is not misappropriated by Hamas, which has diverted millions of aid funds in the past.

Macron also warned Israel’s neighbors to avoid escalating the war into a broader regional conflict. He suggested that the international coalition set up to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq could be widened to fight Hamas.

He closed his remarks by insisting on a peaceful, political resolution to Israel’s decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.

“Regional stability and return to normalization can only take place if Israel defends its security, fights against violence but also accepts the legitimate right of Palestinians to have a state, to live in peace and in security side by side with Israel,” he said.

Macron also became one of few Western leaders who has met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah since the start of the fighting, despite a ban by Israel that deemed “security conditions” in the West Bank insufficient. Only Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also visited Ramallah. On Wednesday, Macron went on to meet King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt.

Meanwhile in Paris, the World Jewish Congress convened a meeting on Tuesday to address a global surge in antisemitic hate speech online. Representatives from across the world reported that Hamas has used internet and social media platforms to fuel a spike in hate speech and disinformation since the Oct. 7 attacks, an effort that the platforms’ content moderation and monitoring strategies have failed to prevent.

According to a report published alongside the forum, Hamas has also amassed support among far-right and racist ideologies, pointing to a shift in extremist circles around the globe.

The post With Israel visit, Macron seeks to balance solidarity with Israel and calls for peace appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

The post UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza first appeared on

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

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