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OPINION

Is France Turning Against Israel?

middle east tensions and war
(Michel Marcoux/Dreamstime.com)

Martin Sherman By Tuesday, 02 April 2024 09:38 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

French President Emmanuel Macron Has Called on Israel to Cease Bombing 'Babies, Ladies, and Old People'

Lamentably, it seems that ill-winds from France are beginning to blow toward Israel as its war of righteous retribution against its barbaric ISIS-like adversary nears its sixth month.

'Degrading Israel’s standing . . . '

A recent expression of this emerging inimitié française was the sudden demand by French authorities to tighten the conditions for the participation of Israeli security firms in the prestigious Eurosatory arms exhibition, scheduled this June in Paris.

Israeli companies planning to take part in the exhibition, to showcase new developments and weapon systems, have been informed that their merchandise must obtain a prior import license from the French Defense Ministry, without which they will be unable to exhibit their products in France.

Israeli sources expressed concern that this will leave the decision as to which — if any — Israeli military items can be displayed, to the discretion of the Ministry.

The French move has aroused resentment in Israel, where it is seen as demeaning. One senior industry executive commented: "I have participated in many exhibitions like this, and there has never been such a demand, which simply degrades Israel's status. . .

"The requirement for prior approval to bring in exhibits for the exhibition is for low-level countries—not to say 'pariah' states — and cannot be tolerated."

Increasing Franco-Israeli Discord

This incident comes after several other disturbing steps by France, which undercut Israel's national interests.

Recently, there were reports of tensions flaring during a meeting between the Israeli and French Foreign Ministers, Israel Katz, and Stephane Sejourne, particularly over Lebanon and the hostages in Gaza.

Sejourne issued a warning — that could be interpreted as a veiled threat that France and Israel could clash militarily if future IDF action against Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, endangers the 20,000 French nationals resident in Lebanon.

Moreover, after initial staunch support for Israel, French President Emmanuel Macron began to adopt a more critical tone toward Israel, increasingly geared towards curtailing its freedom of action against Hamas — including support for the recent UN resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza — despite vehement Israeli opposition.

Notably, France’s UN Ambassador Nicholas de Rivière praised the resolution, proclaiming that "it was high time" for the Security Council to act.

In a piece headlined: "Is France inadvertently arming Israel’s enemies?," the Israeli news site i24-News reported on some alarming developments in French foreign policy.

Intentionally Reckless or Unintentionally Rash

For example, last November, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu approved delivery of several dozen French-made armored vehicles to the Lebanese army, ostensibly to "assist them in their patrol missions within the country [so] it could coordinate well with UNIFIL as tensions mount between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah in southern Lebanon."

In other words, as i24-News remarks, France is providing armored personnel carriers to the Lebanese Army for use in the areas controlled by Hezbollah, despite previous knowledge that Western military equipment supplied to the Lebanese Army has ended up in the hands of the Iranian terror proxy.

Indeed, as the Alma think-tank underscores, Hezbollah’s infiltration of the Lebanese army, as well as its utilization of its infrastructure, materiel, and personnel, implies there is a tangible risk that French equipment and armaments will end up being used against Israel.

Russian Reverse-Engineering of French Arms?

But the detrimental potential of ill-conceived French foreign policy extends significantly beyond the realms of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

Last year, France’s Defense Minister announced that Paris would help Armenia bolster its air-defense capabilities by providing it with "cutting edge" systems including advanced radars and anti-air missiles — a deal some attribute to the influence of France’s influential Armenian diaspora.

Although some Western commentators have welcomed this as signifying that Armenia is reducing its dependence on Moscow, others have suggested a gloomier interpretation.

As I wrote in my last Newsmax article, Armenia functions as a major hub allowing the flow of goods to-and-from Russia in contravention of Western sanctions.

Thus, although Russo-Armenia relations have soured somewhat following Yerevan’s military defeat in Nagorno-Karabagh, Russia still maintains a very significant presence in the country.

This has led some experts to warn that French weapons systems would be accessible to the Russian military and intelligence services, allowing them to be reverse-engineered in cooperation with Iran — and be redeployed against Ukraine and Israel.

'Armenia's security is Iran's security'

But Armenia is not only a conduit for merchandise to-and-from Russia.

It has developed an increasingly close relationship with Israel’s arch-foe, Iran.

The warmth of the ties was reflected in a statement by Iran’s Foreign Minister that "Armenia's security is Iran's security."

Indeed, Armenia itself has confirmed that Iran has delivered attack drones and donated hundreds of missiles to the Armenian military.

Significantly, Armenia still serves as an active link in the Russian-Iranian alliance. Indeed, some pundits have suggested that Armenia is being used by IRGC as a base of operations and a transit point, masking armament deliveries from Iran to Syria and to Lebanon.

Moreover, in siding with Armenia, France is also implicitly undermining its nemesis, Azerbaijan, a staunch ally of Israel and as a secular, dominantly Shi’ite nation, an arch-adversary of the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran.

Sadly, then, clouds of Franco-Israeli tensions seem to be gathering on the horizon.

Martin Sherman spent seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli defense establishment. He is the founder of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a member of the Habithonistim-Israel Defense & Security Forum (IDSF) research team, and a participant in the Israel Victory Project. Read Martin Sherman's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


MartinSherman
Lamentably, it seems that ill-winds from France are beginning to blow toward Israel as its war of righteous retribution against its barbaric ISIS-like adversary nears its sixth month. Sadly, then, clouds of Franco-Israeli tensions seem to be gathering on the horizon.
france, gazan, paris
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2024-38-02
Tuesday, 02 April 2024 09:38 AM
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