Paris (Dec. 16)
France today formally condemned Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights but official sources said that President Francois Mitterrand will not cancel or postpone his forthcoming official state visit to Israel in February.
An official communique released here after the French Cabinet’s meeting said “The government denounces the Israeli initiative as contrary to international law and United Nations Resolutions on the subject.” Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson, who recently returned from a 25-hour visit to Israel, said after the Cabinet meeting, “The (Israeli) Annexation is unacceptable. We can do nothing but condemn it.”
The official French condemnation came in the wake of a public protest voiced by the Arab League’s representative in Paris, Mohammed Yazid, an Algerian diplomat well known in French political and intellectual circles since the time of the Franco-Algerian war. He accused France of having “encouraged Israel (to annex the Golan) by its complacency, lack of condemnation and double language.”
In France itself practically all major political parties and even some Jewish organizations have condemned or protested against the Israeli move. The secretary general of the French Socialist Party, Lionel Jospin, who is known for his close ties with Israel, said the Israeli move was “an error and a mistake which will not serve the cause of peace.”
The Gaullists headed by Paris Mayor Jacques Chirac, who generally openly courts the Jewish electorate, said the annexation “is contrary to the needs of a peaceful solution.” Several trade unions, including the non-Communists, also condemned the Knesset decision. Two Jewish organizations with close links to Israel’s Mapam Party, the Circle Bernard Lazare and Michmar, also released communiques regretting the move.