Eshkol Assails De Gaulle Embargo, Asserts It Damages Prospects of Mideast Peace

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol today delivered a strong attack on President Charles de Gaulle of France for his one-man embargo on arms and spare parts shipments to Israel, Mr. Eshkol told the Knesset (Parliament) that Gen. de Gaulle’s embargo “runs counter to all common usage in inter-state relations.” The embargo, he declared, “resembles the case of a man tying the hands of one of the partners to a conflict while the other one remains free to hurt or hit without hindrance. Anybody trying to handicap our strength is actually hurting the prospects for Middle East peace,” he said. The embargo violated normal inter-state usage because agreements were arbitrarily set aside and funds already paid for arms were not returned, he said. He praised the French people for standing by Israel in its darkest hours and said that previous French Governments had helped strengthen Israel to safeguard peace in the region.

Observers here expressed some surprise at the vehemence of Mr. Eshkol’s attack on Gen. de Gaulle. He challenged the French President’s claim that he embodied the true nature of France. “We feel certain that the French Government will yet find an expression for the sentiments of the French nation in this matter for the sake of its own glory, greatness and conscience,” he said.

Mr. Eshkol singled out for criticism Gen. de Gaulle’s assertion that France had helped Israel until she became the aggressor by attacking first in the June, 1967 war. Mr. Eshkol said the embargo was likely to escalate the Middle East situation to the point of renewed warfare by the Arabs.

NEXT STORY