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Macron's setback: French court overturns ban on Israeli participation in an arms fair

Israeli companies were initially banned from participating in Eurosatory due to Paris' opposition to the IDF operation in Rafah. A court reversed the decision following an appeal by the event's organizing company.

Eurosatory (AFP)

A visitor walks past a military truck equipped with a Cesar canon and a Nexter Systems Leclerc tank at the Eurosatory international land, air defence and security trade fair, in Villepinte, a northern suburb of Paris, on June 17, 2024. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

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On Tuesday, a French court overturned the decision to ban Israeli participation at the Eurosatory 2024 arms exhibition, which began yesterday in Paris, France. The ruling came after an appeal by Coges Events, the company organizing the event, against the verdict issued by the court of Bobigny.

The District Court of Commercial Affairs ordered Coges Events to freeze the measures against the 74 Israeli companies intending to participate in the exhibition, which runs until June 21.

The court also ruled that the company must pay the appeal fees and stated that the decision must be implemented immediately due to its urgency.

The decision followed a ban imposed at the end of May by French authorities, which prohibited Israeli military industry companies from participating in Eurosatory 2024 due to Emmanuel Macron's opposition to Israel's operation in Rafah. The Bobigny Municipal Court extended the French government's ban, restricting entry to the event by any Israeli citizen acting as intermediaries and prohibiting exhibitors from promoting Israeli weapons or engaging with representatives of the Jewish state.

In late May, the French Ministry of Defense justified its actions. stating that "the conditions for receiving Israeli companies are no longer met," especially after French President Emmanuel Macron called for "the end of Israeli operations in Rafah."

An NGO reported that an organization with terrorist links was behind the ban

NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based organization that reports on international NGO activity, stated that the court's decision to ban Israelis from attending the Eurosatory defense exhibition occurred following a request from Al-Haq, a group known for its “legal warfare” against Israel.

NGO Monitor added that Al-Haq has increased its attacks against Israel since the October 7 massacre. The organization emphasized that Shawan Jabarin, the general director of Al-Haq, has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, Canada and Israel.

For more than a decade, Al-Haq has been pressuring the International Criminal Court to take action against Israel. On May 20, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.