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After angering Israel, Macron recalibrates strategy in Gaza war

French President Emmanuel Macron received former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Paris today as Elysee grows more concerned about the Lebanon front.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a meeting with the leaders of France's Freemason organisations during the 250th anniversary of the Grand Orient of France in Paris, on November 8, 2023. (Photo by Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP) (Photo by THIBAULT CAMUS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — Former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, where they discussed the risk of the Gaza war escalating into a regional conflict. The previous day, the French president spoke on the phone separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We spoke at length over the threat of the current crisis expanding into a situation where Israel will have to face Hezbollah. Such an escalation would bring about dangerous repercussions, endangering not only the Middle East but also Europe and the rest of the world," Rivlin told Al-Monitor, noting that Iran was fanning the flames of the conflict. 

"I told President Macron it is important to have United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 implemented, keeping Hezbollah on the other side of the Litani River," said Rivlin. He also said he and Macron discussed what Israel considers asymmetry in humanitarian issues. "We keep asking that the Red Cross be allowed to visit our hostages, or at least that the Red Cross receives their names," he noted.

Rivlin stressed that the conversation, which lasted more than an hour, was warm and frank, adding that relations between the two countries are very strong and friendly despite some disagreements. 

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