Paris (May. 6)
President Valery Giscard d’Estaing last night lashed out at “certain methods” which portray him as an enemy of Israel. The President, who is seeking reelection to a second seven-year term, was especially angered by a propaganda leaflet distributed by a Jewish splinter organization, Jewish Revival.
The leaflet carried a picture claiming to show Giscard watching Israel through binoculars from a Jordanian military post. The caption did not say so outright but implied that the picture was taken during Giscard’s trip to Jordan last May.
When Socialist challenger Francois Mitterrand questioned him last night during their face-to-face nation-wide debate about this, Giscard lashed out; “I want all Frenchmen to know what sort of methods are used (against me)”
Giscard said the picture was taken at a race track in Paris while he watched a race. He told Mitterrand that he had never visited Jordanian military installation and when flown by helicopter to a Jordanian military base he had refused to leave the plane.
Jewish Revival president Henry Hajdenberg later admitted that the picture was not taken on the site. He said another photograph was taken “to illustrate Giscard’s disdainful attitude and as a symbol of his Middle East policy.”
Mitterrand, who had based his question on material supplied by the pro-Socialist Jewish organization, was reportedly deeply upset after the television incident, the major campaign highlight and on which the electoral outcome might hinge.
DENIES FAVORING A PALESTINIAN STATE
Giscard, who according to public opinion polls is running neck to neck with his Socialist challenger, also used the question to stress that he had never mentioned the creation of a Palestinian state and advocated only Palestinian self-determination. He reminded Mitterrand that the Socialist leader is the one who had talked about a Palestinian state and had even advocated “a pact between the two (Israel and Palestinian) states.”
Giscard added: “What I always wanted was a global agreement in the Middle East. There will be no real security for Israel till a global peace is reached.”
Giscard earlier this week met with a delegation of the Representative Council of Major Jewish Organizations in France (CRIF) which presented a list of 10 demands, including the closing of Palestine Liberation Organization in Paris, halting arms sales to Arab countries, and stopping uranium deliveries to Iraq.
REFUSES TO REACT TO BEGIN’S ATTACK
Giscard has refused to react up till now to Israeli Premier Menachem Begin’s attack against him and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Begin last Sunday accused the two West European statesmen of being motivated by “greed and cupidity” in their Mideast policies.
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman refused to react aside from saying that Begin’s tone “is highly unusual in international relations.” Sources close to Giscard were more loquacious, however. While refusing to be named, these aides accused Begin of trying to intervene in French internal affairs one week before the May 10th presidential runoff elections.