newsIsrael at War

France bars Israel from defense show over Rafah operation

Out of the 74 Israeli firms set to present at the show, 10 were to exhibit weapons.

Eurosatory 2022. Source: YouTube/screenshot.
Eurosatory 2022. Source: YouTube/screenshot.

France barred Israel from attending Eurosatory, an international defense show held every two years near Paris. The French military cited disagreements between the two countries over Israel Defense Forces operations in Rafah, the last remaining Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip.

“At the request of the French authorities, Israeli companies will not be present at Eurosatory,” the French Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement on Friday, Defense News reported.

“Conditions are no longer suited to welcome Israeli companies to the French show, in a context where the president is calling for Israeli operations in Rafah to stop.”

Out of the 74 Israeli firms set to present at the show, 10 were to exhibit weapons.

Founded in 1967, Eurosatory, the world’s largest defense-trade show, featured 1,700 exhibitors in 2022. At this year’s show, to take place between June 17-21, 1,800 exhibitors are expected.

The decision to ban Israeli defense firms may have been a result of the May 26 Israeli airstrike that resulted in the deaths of 45 people in a tent camp in Rafah.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his anger earlier in the week over the incident.

“Outraged by the Israeli strikes that have killed many displaced persons in Rafah,” Macron tweeted on May 27. “These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire.”

It later emerged that the civilians were likely killed not as a direct result of the airstrike, but by a blaze caused when Hamas munitions caught fire.

National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s War Cabinet, spoke on Friday with French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal about the issue.

“I discussed with the prime minister further the French decision to forbid an Israeli delegation from participating in the @cogeseurosatory Security Fair. I emphasized to him that the decision ultimately rewards terror, and asked that France re-consider the decision,” Gantz posted to X on Friday.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the hypocrisy of France’s decision.

“The French decision to ban Israel from a defense forum—while welcoming the Chinese Communist Party—is reprehensible. It’s morally bankrupt to target the one Jewish state as it fights a defensive war against terrorism,” Pompeo said on X.

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