France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna called Sunday for an “immediate” humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war as casualties climb in the besieged Gaza Strip, whose population is living on dwindling supplies.
“An immediate, durable and observed humanitarian truce is absolutely necessary and must be able to lead to a ceasefire,” Colonna told reporters during a visit to Qatar.
Colonna, who met with her Qatari counterpart in Doha, added that France was working to have a resolution on a truce adopted by the UN Security Council.
Her comments follow calls for a humanitarian “pause” by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is back for a second tour of the region since the October 7 attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Such pauses were a key focus of Blinken’s talks in Israel on Friday, but the proposal drew short shrift from hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said he would not agree to a “temporary truce” with Hamas until the Islamist group releases more than 240 Israeli and foreign hostages it abducted during its October 7 attacks.
Since the shock Hamas attack, which Israeli officials say killed 1,400, mostly civilians, Israel has relentlessly bombarded the besieged Gaza Strip, levelling entire city blocks.
The health ministry in Gaza, the narrow territory under Hamas control since 2007, says more than 9,480 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli strikes and the intensifying ground campaign.