War on Gaza: Former French president Hollande calls Gaza dead ‘collateral victims’
The comments were made on Wednesday during a ceremony in Paris, after a journalist asked whether there was a double standard in the reaction to killings in Israel and in Gaza and whether the latter also deserved a tribute.
In a widely circulated response, Hollande said: “It cannot be the same tribute. A life is a life and one life is equivalent to another but there are victims of terrorism and victims of war. Being a victim of terrorism means being attacked as a French person or as a defender of a way of life. A collateral victim, you are in war… it's not of the same nature.”
The comments have prompted a backlash, with some saying they are an example of double standards and insensitivity.
“Not just him, the same elements of language are broadcast on all French media today. It’s disgusting… French politics and media are under pro-Israel lobbies for a while unfortunatley, and its getting worse everyday,” one person posted in response to the video on X.
“Despite the cruelty of war, it exposes the truth about people. The Gaza war revealed the mentality of many western leaders, revealing their racism and their inferiority view of the Palestinians,” another said.
In December, the UN commissioner, Volker Turk, said that the killing of Gaza civilians cannot be dismissed as “collateral damage”.
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted the event featuring his predecessor Hollande, which marked four months since the attack on southern Israel.
“Those who kill out of hate will be confronted by those prepared to die for love. The French citizens who perished on 7 October weren’t all born on French soil and did not die under the French sky, but they all had France anchored inside of their being,” he said.
The war on Gaza started on 7 October, following a Hamas led attack on Israel which killed at least 1,140 people.
In response, Israel has launched a military campaign in Gaza, which has so far killed at least 27,700 people, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Gaza has been plunged into a deep humanitarian crisis, after Israel blocked off all fuel, electricity, aid, water and food for the besieged Strip on 9 October.