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France, Israel squabble over Gaza, Lebanon, but no divorce on horizon

The Eurosatory affair and disagreements on Gaza and Lebanon have tampered with the bilateral relations between Israel and France, but not all is lost.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron (L).

PARIS — Relations between Israel and France have hit several significant snags in recent days, mainly over the war in Gaza, though experts deny there is a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron has repeated in recent weeks his statements against the Israeli military operation in the southern city of Rafah and is calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. His calls have been rejected by the Israeli government. Several other incidents have also strained diplomatic relations between the two countries, but experts insist both governments are in continuous dialogue and ties are still friendly.

The Eurosatory saga

The latest tensions go back to Macron’s decision at the end of May to ban Israeli companies from participating in the prestigious Eurosatory defense fair in Paris because of Israel’s refusal to end the war in Gaza and its military operation in Rafah. The decision took Israel by surprise and was perceived as a direct affront against the 74 Israeli companies that invested considerable sums in renting and preparing stands at the fair.  

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