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France under pressure to suspend military sales to Israel amid its genocidal war in Gaza

This satellite image shows the southern Gaza town of Rafah on January 14, 2024. (AP photo)

Opposition parties and activists have called on France's government to reconsider arms sales to Israel in the wake of its genocidal war in the besieged Gaza Strip.

They encouraged Paris to follow the example of other European nations that suspended military exports to Israel over concerns about the humanitarian situation on the ground, France 24 reported on Thursday.  

French company Eurofarad is facing charges of complicity in war crimes against Palestinians in France. The company has since been bought by Exxelia Technologies.

Israeli troops had used missiles of Eurofarad to kill Palestinian children of the Shuheibar family.

A specialized department looking at crimes against humanity opened an investigation on suspicion of "complicity with war crimes" at a Paris court, and last summer several members of the Shuheibar family were heard.

The Shuheibar case is not unique. Other French defense companies – including Dassault, Thalès and MBDA – are facing charges of “complicity in war crimes” over weapons sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which has fought a war in Yemen.

The Shuheibar case raises some lingering questions in the context of the Israeli war in Gaza, and following the provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month and the pending ruling.

French companies have exported weapons or any “dual-use” equipment to Israel that can be used in a military context.

The head of Amnesty International in France, Jean-Claude Samouiller, wrote an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, calling on him for the suspension of all weapons sales and military equipment to Israel.

Opposition MPs have repeatedly grilled members of the government over continuing French military exports to Israel.

Last week, Mathilde Panot, the president of the LFI parliamentary group, asked Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné whether France was arming Israel and called for a suspension of any such sales.

“Has France continued providing weapons to [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu? Mister minister, can you say with certainty that no French military component is being used in Gaza in any war crime that is being committed? When will you declare an arms embargo?” she asked, adding: “[Charles] de Gaulle did it [in 1967]. Emmanuel Macron must do it.”

She also asked the French foreign minister to provide a list of weapons and other equipment provided to Israel.

“Concerning weapons, I will revert back to you to give you a number, because I don’t have it here,” Séjourné replied.

Since the Israeli occupation of Palestine in June 1967, the illegal entity has perpetrated a raft of crimes, including killing, displacement, arrest and torture of Palestinians and demolition of their homes.

In its latest act of aggression, more than 29,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed and over 70,000 others injured since the Israeli regime launched its US-backed onslaught on Gaza on October 7, 2023.

Providing Israel with an unbridled supply of arms and ammunition since the initiation of the Gaza war, the United States, Israel’s great benefactor, has vetoed UN Security Council resolutions that called on the regime to cease its aggression.

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