Telephone conversation between the President of the French Republic and Benyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel (Élysée Palace, 14 February 2024)


The President of the French Republic held a telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday, 14 February 2024.

The President reiterated France’s commitment to the security of Israel and his solidarity with the people of Israel following the terrorist attack on 7 October.

The two leaders discussed the situation in Gaza. The President emphasized that the release of all hostages, including the three French hostages, is an absolute priority for France. He highlighted the extreme urgency of concluding a ceasefire agreement without further delay to guarantee the protection of all civilians and the large-scale delivery of emergency assistance. In light of the intolerable death toll and humanitarian situation, Israeli operations must cease.

The President of the French Republic expressed France’s firm opposition to an Israeli offensive in Rafah, which would only result in a humanitarian disaster of increased magnitude, as would any forced displacement of populations, which would be violations of international humanitarian law and would increase the risk of regional escalation.

He also stressed the urgent need to provide mass humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. He emphasized that nothing can justify the failure to provide sufficient humanitarian access to a population during an extreme humanitarian emergency. To provide this access, it is imperative to open the port of Ashdod, a direct road from Jordan and all crossing points.

The President of the French Republic also underlined that any measures which could lead to an uncontrolled escalation in Jerusalem and the West Bank must be avoided. He reiterated France’s condemnation of Israel’s settlement policy and called for the dismantling of outposts, which are illegal including under Israeli law. He also emphasized the importance of Israel ending the violence perpetrated by certain settlers against Palestinian civilians.

He underscored that only the two-State solution, involving the creation of a Palestinian State, can meet the security needs of Israel and its people and can satisfy the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians for a State living in peace and security alongside Israel. He called on the Prime Minister and all Israeli leaders to have the courage to offer their citizens a peaceful future. He noted that France is willing to play its part, including through its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Finally, the two leaders discussed the regional situation. The President of the French Republic stressed the importance of avoiding escalation in the region, particularly in Lebanon and the Red Sea. He also recalled the messages which France sends to all regional actors on this issue, including Iran. He reiterated the importance of fully implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701 between Lebanon and Israel.

Elysée Press Release