President Charles DeGaulle today launched his most bitter attack against Israel which he called a “war-like state determined to expand on any pretext” and declared that the only solution of the Middle East problem must be one based on the evacuation of Israel “from territories taken by force” and agreed to by the big powers — United States, Russia, France and Britain.
The French President spoke before more than 1,000 newsmen, diplomats and members of his government who packed the Elysee Palace to attend the latest of his infrequent press conferences. He said that France was ready to play its part, along with the other big powers, in achieving a Middle East settlement which, in addition to an Israeli withdrawal, should be based on an “end to belligerency and the recognition of each state by all other states.” Such a settlement, bolstered by “decisions of the United Nations, with the presence and the warrant of their forces, would make it possible to define the boundaries, the conditions of life and security of both sides, the fate of the refugees and of minorities and the rules of free navigation for all in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal.” DeGualle said. He added that France favors a special status for Jerusalem.
He stressed that agreement by the big powers was necessary. If this was achieved, the agreement of the United Nations would automatically follow, he said.
General DeGaulle made his attack on Israel in reply to a question from an Israeli journalist. He gave a long account of what he considers the origins of Zionism, noting the conditions that brought Jews to Palestine. Their purchases of pieces of land there he conceded was “more or less justifiable.” He spoke of the “capital of sympathy” especially among Christians, from which “Jews have benefited.” But, he declared, “in the course of the French-British expedition in Suez (in 1956) we have seen the birth of a warrior state determined to get larger, doubling its population by immigration, led to believe that its territory would not be sufficient, and, in order to enlarge it, using any possible occasion.” That is why, DeGaulle said, “the Fifth Republic has loosened the special and very narrow links that the former government had forged with this state.” He charged that Israel had used the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba as a “pretext” to begin the war last June and that Israel was now describing Arab resistance as terrorism.
General DeGaulle said that the Middle East dispute and the Viet Nam war are “intertwined” and that without the war, “the Middle East conflict would not be what it is.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.