Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to disagree Tuesday evening during talks in Paris at the Elysee Palace over the issue of Iran and the violence taking place at Israel’s border with Gaza.
In a joint news conference that followed their meeting, Macron said European leaders are concerned about Iran’s activities in the Middle East but still believe the JCPOA nuclear deal should be preserved. “We want to bring stability to the Middle East, and the nuclear agreement is part of that, but it should be extended by an additional 10 years, and we should consider Iran’s aggression in the region and its ballistic missile program,” Macron said.
Macron also said that France supports the “two-state solution,” and claimed the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv “caused death.” He said he made it clear to Israel’s prime minister that he was “concerned about the events of the last few weeks on the Gaza border that threaten the peace process.
“We condemn violence against civilians, including the violence of Hamas. France wants to be part of the solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he said.
Netanyahu maintained in regard to Iran that the greatest threat to the world today is that of nuclear weapons in the hands of the current regime in Tehran.
“This is the time to put maximum pressure on the Iranians,” Netanyahu said. “I did not ask President Macron to withdraw from the nuclear agreement, but I preferred to focus on stopping Iranian aggression in the region,” he added.
With regard to the violence at the Gaza border, Netanyahu pointed out, “These are not demonstrations but violent riots. They deliberately put children in harm’s way, and at the same time they try to injure and kill Israelis. They are burning our fields. We are not talking about civilians and reality is not what we would see from here. We maintain our right to defend ourselves.”