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Israel Says It Will Not Accept Refund for 50 Mirage Jets France Has Embargoed

Israel is firmly opposed to accepting any refund from France for the 50 Mirage V jet fighter bombers that were embargoed by the De Gaulle regime although Israel has paid for them in full. According to informed sources here, Israel insists on delivery of the aircraft which are being held in storage in France.

The embargo was imposed by former President Charles De Gaulle following the June, 1967 Six-Day War in which the French leader accused Israel of being the aggressor. The embargo has been continued under the regime of President George Pompidou although there have been some indications that it wants to improve relations with Israel. Sources here said the French believe the Mirage affair is undermining attempts to improve relations with Israel and want to close this chapter by repaying the money for the planes. This possibility has been raised by a number of French officials in talks with Israelis but Israel has insisted that it wants the planes, not the money.