France joins Jordan in Gaza aid airdrop, French FM says enclave must remain Palestinian

France joins Jordan in Gaza aid airdrop, French FM says enclave must remain Palestinian
Close cooperation between France and Jordan's militaries made the 'extremely complex operation' possible, French president Emmanuel Macron said.
2 min read
Jordan has dropped aid on Gaza on several occasions since 7 October [Jehad Alshrafi/Anadolu via Getty]

France and Jordan teamed up to airdrop seven tonnes of aid to Gaza, President Emmanuel Macron said Friday, as Israel continues its brutal bombardment of the Palestinian territory.

"In a difficult context, France and Jordan delivered aid by air to the population and those aiding them," Macron wrote on 'X', the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

"The humanitarian situation remains critical in Gaza" after three months of conflict, he added.

The French leader posted a photograph of an airman standing on the cargo ramp of a military plane, with parachutes visible in the sky below.

Macron's office said the "extremely complex operation" took place late Thursday, saying it had been made possible by close ties between the French and Jordanian militaries.

Each nation sent a C-130 transport plane with mixed French-Jordanian crews, bringing a total of seven tonnes of "humanitarian and health" aid, the presidency said.

The supplies dropped by France and Jordan were equipped with systems that remotely guided them to a Jordanian field hospital operating in the territory, the French presidency said.

Almost 23,000 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, when Israel launched its air and ground assault on the Palestinian enclave.

The United Nations estimates that 1.9 million Gazans - 85 percent of the pre-war population - have been displaced, with hundreds of thousands risking famine and most hospitals out of action.

There are serious shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding deliveries of humanitarian aid.

In Gaza, "a quarter of the population is (facing) catastrophic levels of hunger," World Food Programme chief economist Arif Husain told the New Yorker on Wednesday.

The airdrop came as France's foreign minister said Gaza must remain a Palestinian territory, amid calls by some Israeli ministers for Palestinians to be pushed out of the enclave and resettled elsewhere.

Such calls - made by finance minister Bezalel Smotrich and national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, among others - were "irresponsible", Catherine Colonna told CNN on Friday.

"It is not up to Israel to determine the future of Gaza... the West Bank and Gaza must be part of the Palestinian state, and these statements by certain Israeli ministers are irresponsible," Colonna said.

"This kind of escalatory rhetoric will not solve the problem."