Pineau Says France Will Back Israel on Action Against Gaza

French Foreign Minister Christian Pineau told the National Assembly last night that if Israel re-enters the Gaza Strip as a result of a resumption of fedayeen activities against her territory and citizens, France would support her. He said that under these circumstances, Israel would be completely justified in taking military action.

Speaking at the conclusion of a two-week foreign policy debate in the National Assembly, the Foreign Minister stressed that Paris would not apply sanctions against Israel. He scored the United Nations for its “indefensible” action in letting Egypt resume control of the Gaza Strip.

M. Pineau revealed that France and the United States had agreed to Israel’s right to take defensive measures in the event of any further attempt by Egypt to bar the Strait of Tiran or the Gulf of Akaba to Israeli shipping.

However, he said the U.S. and France differed on the Gaza situation, implying that the U.S. had gone back on its pledges to Israel. He expressed France’s determination to help Israel find a “just solution” of the Gaza matter.

(French Ambassador Pierre Gilbert, returning to his post in Tel Aviv today from consultations in Paris, told newsmen in Hebrew: “There’s hope that everything will be in order.” He participated in meetings between Israel Finance Minister Levi Eshkol and Premier Guy Mollet.)

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