French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday described the October 7 massacre by Hamas in Israel as the “biggest antisemitic massacre of our century” as he hosted a ceremony paying tribute to the French victims.
He described the attack by the Palestinian terror group as “barbarism… which is fed by antisemitism and propagates it,” vowing also not to give in to “rampant and uninhibited antisemitism.”
The ceremony at the Invalides Memorial complex in Paris paid tribute to the 42 French citizens killed in the brutal incursion into southern communities by Hamas and the three others still missing, believed to be held hostage.
Macron said France would work “every day” for the release of the remaining French hostages. “Their empty chairs are there,” he said at the ceremony.
“Nothing can justify or excuse terrorism,” he said.
The French presidency has also indicated it will provide an opportunity to remember French victims of Israel’s bombardments of the Gaza Strip but has not given details on the format.
War erupted with Hamas’s devastating onslaught on Israel on October 7, when terrorists murdered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seized around 250 hostages, of whom 132 remain in Gaza, and 29 are believed to have died.
Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas and launched airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed at least 27,585 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. The figure cannot be independently verified and is believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed some 10,000 Hamas terrorists in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 gunmen inside Israel on October 7.
“All lives are equal, are invaluable in the eyes of France,” said Macron, describing war as a “tornado of suffering.”
He also vowed that France would “never allow the spirit of revenge to prosper” and that “in these challenges, nothing should divide us.”
He said that France would do everything to “respond to the aspirations of peace and security for everyone in the Middle East.”