France bans Israeli companies from displaying weapons | Israel-Palestine Conflict News

The French Defense Ministry suggests the decision is linked to Paris’ opposition to the continued Israeli invasion of Rafah.

France has banned Israeli companies from participating in this year’s annual Eurosatory arms and defense industry exhibition in Villepinte, near Paris, next month, event organizers and French authorities said.

“By decision of government authorities, there will be no stand for the Israeli defense industry at the Eurosatory 2024 fair,” organizers Coges Events said on Friday.

The French Defense Ministry suggested the decision was related to Paris’ opposition to the continued Israeli attack on Rafah in southern Gaza.

“The conditions for hosting Israeli companies at the fair are no longer met at a time when the president is calling on Israel to cease operations in Rafah,” the ministry told Reuters news agency.

Seventy-four Israeli companies would attend the June 17-21 event at the fairgrounds near Paris’ main international airport, and Coges had previously said about 10 of them would display weapons.

Last week, a group of activists issued a legal warning and urged Coges to take steps to prevent the buying and selling of weapons that could be used in “crimes” committed in Gaza or other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory.

ASER, Stop Arming Israel, Urgency Palestine and the France-Palestine Solidarity Association also warned against the benefits of the fair “reinforcing the economic power of the companies that are likely to participate in these crimes.”

Coges told the AFP news agency that it was “a fair solely for the presentation of defense and security equipment… and in no way a place for agreements.”

Friday’s announcement came just days after Israel bombed a camp for displaced people in Rafah, southern Gaza, sparking international outrage and widespread protests in France.

President Emmanuel Macron also said he was “outraged” by the Israeli airstrike that killed 45 people in the camp.

In previous weeks, France joined other Western nations in urging Israel not to invade Rafah, which had become home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians forcibly displaced from other parts of Gaza.

Israel has ignored those warnings and launched a major offensive against Rafah, displacing around a million people from the city. The attack, in which Israeli forces took control of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, has also worsened the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Last week, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ highest court, ordered Israel to stop its attacks on Rafah.

At least 36,284 Palestinians have been killed and 82,057 wounded in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7.

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