French lawmakers call on Olympic committee to sanction Israel. GETTY IMAGES

Twenty-six French lawmakers have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Israel from competing in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris over the conflict in Gaza.

In a letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, twenty-six French lawmakers have called for Israel to be sanctioned and banned from competing under its flag and anthem. The opposition lawmakers cited their condemnation of "the unprecedented war crimes committed by Israel" against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The signatories belong to left-wing political parties such as Unbowed France (LFI) and the Greens (EELV), which are part of the left-wing alliance NUPES in France.

The French representatives called for Israeli athletes to be subject to the same sanctions as Russians and Belarusians, i.e. to compete neutrally, as in the Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to begin in Paris in July 2024.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. GETTY IMAGES
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. GETTY IMAGES

They also called for these restrictions, if applied, to remain in place for the entire duration of the Gaza conflict and until a long-term ceasefire is announced. According to UN figures released in November 2023, some 10,000 civilians, including 560 children, have died as a result of the war in Ukraine over almost two years. This alarming figure is far exceeded in the Middle East region, where the death toll after four months of war is approaching 40,000, with an estimated 70,000 wounded, most of them children. The IOC has already announced that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as independent and neutral athletes, while athletes who have publicly supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be banned.