France is ignoring EU rules on arms sales to Israel, new study reports

by Katherine Orwell, IMEMC, May 30, 2009

The French arms trade with Israel breaks the rules that the European Union has set out for the defense industry, according to a new study brought out this week. Between 2003 and 2007 France licensed for more than 446 million euros for arms exports to Israel, making France the largest EU supplier of weapons to Israel.

The EU code for the defense industry forbids arms sales in cases where they may exacerbate regional tensions or are used in violations of human rights.

Patrice Bouveret from the French Center for Research on Peace and Conflicts in Lyon dismissed the claims from the French government that the "weapons" in question are generally only components of military goods instead of complete weapons systems. "Even if they are only components, they are used directly by the Israeli army," he added.

Amnesty International reported in February that after the Gaza war ceased electrical components were found in the ruins of buildings Israel destroyed, that had "Made in France" written on them.

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