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Giscard Says There Can Be No Overall Mideast Peace Settlement Unless Israel Accepts Withdrawal to It

June 27, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Valery Giscord d’Estaing called today for Israel’s withdrawal to its pre-June 1967 borders and warned that the intentional “guarantees” for “just and recognized borders” exclude, the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

Giscord, who was addressing a press conference, said that the Venice declaration by the Prime Ministers of the nine European Economic Community (EEC) countries, calling for Palestinian “self-determination,” was adopted without any difficulty. He added, in reply to a question, that the nine were now preparing diplomatic steps to put their declaration into practical effect but refused to say what those moves may be or when they will occur.

The French President, who artfully avoided using the words “Palestinian state,” said that Palestinian recognition of Israel and Israel’s recognition of Palestinian “rights” must take place within the framework of a global peace settlement. The basis for any such settlement; Giscard said, was “Israel’s acceptance that it should evacuate the territories” (occupied during the Six Day War).


The French President ruled out any possible long-term settlement for the Middle East as long as Israel fails to accept the principle of evocation. He said the Camp David agreement, establishing peace between Israel and Egypt, is based on the very same principle: “evacuation of the territories gradually accompanied by the creation of a situation of peace.”

Giscord also warned Israel that unless a settlement is reached, “advanced arms potentially dangerous for Israel’s security might be introduced into the area. He said “It is not a narrow river of a few additional Kilometers (of territory) which could protect Israel from new weapons which could be for more powerful and have a far longer range” than any now existing in the Middle East. Giscard said that he had personally intervened on at least one occasion to prevent the introduction into the Middle East of such types of weapons. He said he acted “while negotiations were actually in progress” and observers believe he was referring to French promises to sell bomb producing nuclear piles to either Libya or Iraq or both.


The French President refused to comment, in spite of repeated proddings, on his reactions to the French Jewish community’s protests against his Middle East policy or to say why he refuses to visit Israel although he has paid several visits to Arab countries in the Middle East.

According to diplomatic observers, the President seemed confident of West European support and Elysee Palace sources said that his eight EEC colleagues “fully backed” France’s position with certain countries actually pressing for faster and more concrete action in recognizing the Palestine Liberation Organization as a partner in the peace talks. Giscard himself did not mention the PLO.

Israeli sources were not surprised by Giscord’s statement but were worried by the indication of West European support in following France’s lead. The sources were especially anxious about reports that the EEC nine will jointly submit an amendment to Security Council Resolution 242 recognizing the “rights of the Palestinian people.” This is expected after the American Presidential elections in November. Giscard himself said in his statement today that 242 “remains the basis for France’s Mideast policy by calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the territories it has held since the 1967 war.”

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