PARIS (Dec. 19)
Israel will build an oil pipeline from the mouth of the Gulf of Akaba in the vicinity of the port of Elath to Haifa, on the Mediterranean Sea, Foreign Minister Christian Pineau told-the French National Assembly here last night. Asked whether this construction work would be done with French support and assistance, M. Pineau nodded affirmatively.
The announcement that the often-projected Akaba-Mediterranean pipeline across Israel is becoming a fact was admitted to the Assembly reluctantly when M. Pineau was prodded by the opposition, led by former Prime Minister Pierre Mendes-France. The latter insisted that construction of a Red Sea-Mediterranean pipeline should have been started last summer. Such construction, declared M. Mendes-France, had it been started in July, would have been a better answer to Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s seizure of the Suez Canal than military action.
The Foreign Minister, replying to M. Mendes-France, stated that Egyptian control of the Gulf of Akaba and its sea approaches, as of July, would have made the trans-Israel pipeline project impossible.
Still strongly critical of the government’s actions in the Middle East M. Mendes-France retorted that there were better ways to solve the Middle East crisis than those taken by the government. The opposition leader said that an Arab-Israel settlement should include the establishment of a neutral belt between Egypt and Israel on the Sinai Peninsula, and assurance for Israel of free passage through the Suez Canal. He declared, furthermore, that a four-power conference should be called to deal with the entire Middle East issue.