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Human rights group calls for France to cancel Israeli participation in arms fair

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in Britain has said that Israeli participation in any guise at the Eurosatory 2012 arms fair in Paris would be "a stain on the principles and ethics on which the French Republic is based". The group called on the French government to cancel Israeli participation immediately.

The AOHRB also called upon the European Union, "which issues statements day and night condemning the actions of Israel and its violations in the Palestinian territories without any response from the occupying power" to move from words to deeds.

"It is not acceptable to condemn an army's actions in occupied territories whilst at the same time giving it the opportunity to promote the equipment used in those actions. The EU should, at least, ban the Israeli occupation army from promoting its military equipment in Europe."

The statement by the organisation expressed regret that Israel will be participating in a military fair in Paris with equipment that it uses to kill Palestinians: "All the products of the Israeli military and security factories have been tested on civilians in the occupied territories and southern Lebanon, leading to huge losses of life and destruction of property." This, added the AOHRB, includes the use of weapons and munitions which are forbidden to be used in civilian areas, such as white phosphorus in the Gaza Strip in 2008/9.

"The weapons about which Israel is so proud are stained with the blood of innocent people," said the statement. "It is shameful that the exhibition in Paris is ready to allow an army with such an appalling record to be an exhibitor."

The AOHRB also asked how long the Israeli army will be allowed to peddle its deadly wares internationally while the Israeli government is prohibiting life-saving drugs and equipment from entering the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Israelis are down as "partners in defence" at Eurosatory 2012, which will open in Paris on 11 June. Israeli companies will use the exhibition to promote their combat equipment and security technology honed and tested on civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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