France bans Israeli firms from upcoming defense fair

France has banned Israeli companies from participating in the Eurosatory defense exhibition, one of the world’s largest arms shows, scheduled for June 17-21 in Paris.

The decision, announced by the French Ministry of Defense and the event’s organizers, is in response to Israel’s ongoing military operations in Gaza, particularly the IDF operation in Rafah.

This move affects 74 Israeli companies initially set to participate and has sparked varied reactions, with some applauding the decision as a response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, while others criticize it as a political maneuver or a blow to the Israeli defense industry.

The incident comes days after the Israeli bombing of a camp for displaced people in the Gaza Strip sparked international outrage and protests in France. The air raids killed at least 45 people in the town of Rafah in the night of Sunday to Monday in the south of the besieged Palestinian territory, according to local authorities, almost eight months into the latest Gaza war.

A group of activists last week in a legal warning urged Coges to take measures to avoid the buying and selling of weapons that could be used in “crimes” committed in Gaza or other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories. ASER, Stop Arming Israel, Urgency Palestine and the France-Palestine Solidarity Association also warned against profits from the fair “reinforcing the economic power of firms likely to participate in these crimes.”

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