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Israelis verboten at major French arms expo, court rules

Defense industry representatives who planned on attending the event pulled out after the ruling.

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

A French district court on Saturday banned all Israeli nationals from participating in Eurosatory, the largest international exhibition for land and air-land defense and security.

The decision follows the May 31 announcement by the French Armed Forces Ministry banning all Israeli defense companies from exhibiting at the show. Seventy-four Israeli firms were set to exhibit at the event, which takes place every two years at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center.

Under the May 31 ban, individual Israeli citizens were still permitted to attend the trade show, which takes place on June 17-21.

However, an anti-Israel group challenged that concession in French court. They argued that Israeli citizens might act as intermediaries for their country’s defense firms.

The court agreed, ordering the trade fair to ban all Israeli citizens, maintaining that allowing them into the event was a loophole that might permit the participation of Israeli defense companies through their representatives.

The court called the event organizers’ decision to allow Israelis into the fair blatantly illegal.

The court also called on Eurosatory’s organizers to post the decision at the entrances of the exhibition center where the event is held.

Israeli defense industry representatives who planned on attending the event pulled out after the ruling.

Israeli defense companies had invested heavily in preparing for this year’s trade show, at which 1,800 exhibitors are expected.

The initial decision to ban Israeli defense firms appears to be the 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 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.

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.

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