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France Bans Israel Firms From Upcoming Defense Fair

France authorities have banned Israeli defense firms from exhibiting at a trade show next month near Paris, organisers said on Friday.

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

Neither Coges nor the defense ministry provided an explanation.

Seventy-four Israeli firms had been set to be represented at the event from June 17 to 21 at fairgrounds close to Paris’ main international airport, with Coges previously saying around 10 of them were to exhibit weapons.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli embassy said it did not wish to comment.

The incident comes days after the Israeli bombing of a camp for the displaced 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.

The conflict erupted after Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 36,000 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

A group of activists last week in a legal warning urged Coges to take measure 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”.

Coges told AFP it was “a fair solely for the presentation of defence and security equipment… and in no means a place for deals.”

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