« Around 16,000 people gathered on the Paris streets on Monday evening for a march organised by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF) to support the people of Israel in the wake of the recent escalation.
The march drew the participation of several prominent political figures, underscoring the breadth of support for Israel. Among those in attendance were government spokesperson Olivier Veran and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
« I am devastated, devastated by fear, devastated by grief for what is happening in our country, in Israel, for our people, » Monique, a Jewish protester residing in France, said.
Jean-Paul Huchon, a protester and former president of the Ile-de-France regional council, stressed the importance of distinguishing between Palestine, the Palestinian people, and Hamas. He described Hamas as a ‘terrorist movement’ with the sole objective of perpetuating conflict in the region, even in the face of hopes for peace or closer ties with other Arab nations. Huchon emphasised that whenever there is a glimmer of peace or reconciliation, Hamas intervenes ‘to disrupt progress.’
The demonstration comes in the wake of a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, October 7, during which thousands of rockets were fired into Israeli territory as part of what Hamas referred to as ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.’
Israel responded with airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and issued a formal declaration of war on Hamas, warning residents in Gaza to leave their homes.
Hamas said the operation was due to the long-running Israeli blockade, raids on West Bank cities and other attacks, while Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed ‘mighty vengeance’ on the group.
At the time of publication, over 1,600 have been reported dead across both sides in the most deadly escalation of the ongoing conflict in decades. »