French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Photo: Guillaume Paumier (Flickr)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Photo: Guillaume Paumier (Flickr)

“How many more deaths will it take to stop what must be called the carnage in Gaza?”

Strong words came from the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius this morning, condemning what he described as excessive use of force by Israel in the conflict in Gaza.

The statement underlined Israel’s right to defend itself, but Fabius said this does not justify “the killing of children and the massacre of civilians.”

Fabius drew attention to the recent bombing of a UN school near Rafah in Gaza, which killed ten Palestinians, among them people who were seeking shelter from the conflict. He said that while Hamas obviously bears heavy responsibility in this conflict, it does not justify actions which, “…the Secretary General of the United Nations has qualified as crimes.”

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is reviewing the incident, which according to the Times of Israel, was meant to target three Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists on motorcycles.

Fabius called for a political solution to be imposed by the international community, emphasizing the importance of a cease-fire that was proposed by Egypt. “That is why we support and demand the establishment of a real ceasefire as proposed by Egypt and why we are ready, as French and Europeans, to contribute to it in a concrete way,” he said.

Over 1,850 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, of which the UN estimates 68% or more were civilians, according to a BBC report. The death toll on the Israeli side stands at 64 IDF soldiers, 3 civilians, and one Thai national hit by Hamas rockets.

On July 28 the UN Security Council called for “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” but both Palestine and Israel have criticized the terms of the cease-fire.

According to BBC, Ron Prosor, Israel’s envoy to the UN said, “miraculously, it doesn’t mention Hamas. It doesn’t mention the firing of rockets. Those things are lacking in this statement.”

Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour said that by not demanding Israel withdraw its troops, the UN statement did not go far enough.