Title: Policy background.
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Title: Policy background.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00072554
Volume ID: VID00009
Source Institution: The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
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P0LI C ~BA IK R0UND


THE FRENCH EMBARGO AGAINST ISRAEL


THE EMBASSY OF ISRAEL
Washington, D.C.


January 15, 1969


P 0 LI C


B A K GR 0 N




THE FRENCH EMBARGO AGAINST ISRAEL


1. On June 3, 1967, the French Government initially imposed a partial em-
bargo against Israel designed to withhold delivery of the Mirage planes
ordered by Israel. This was before1'the Six-Day War, after the Uhited
Nations Emergency Forces had been withdrawn at the insistence of the
Egyptian President, after the Egyptian blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, an'
at a time when the UAR military build-up in the Sinai Peninsula and along
Israel's southern frontier had reached its height. Thepplane embargo was
not imposed after the termination of the June 1967 hostilities as subse-
quently alleged by French officials on grounds that Israel had allegedly
"fired the first shot."


2. The recent Paris announcement of a total embargo on the sale of weapons
to Israel makes complete the ban on French-manufactured armaments and of
spare parts for maintenance of French equipment in use in Israel.


3. From a purely commercial point of view, the decision of the French Gov-
ernment runs counter to all common usage in inter-State relations. Agree-
ments duly concluded have been unilaterally and arbitrarily violated. Sub-
stantial sums of money -- as prescribed in the agreements -- have been paid
out for goods which have not been delivered.


4. Politically, the act of the French Government has a particularly grave
impact. It is an attempt to strike a blow at Israel's most sensitive nerve
-- its capacity for self-defense. The French Government, it is to be pre-
sumed, has a fairly accurate knowledge of the flow of Soviet weapons into
Arab arsenals, particularly those of the United Arab Republic. That Govern-
ment is certainly aware of the spirited effort being made by the Soviet
Union to tip the arms balance in the Arab favor. The French embargo, one
must thus conclude, complements Soviet policy in the Middle East. It is
calculated, evidently, to undermine Israel's defensive capacity, to soften
and condition Israel for the attempted imposition of a Soviet-style settle-
ment which is essentially an Arab one.



5. Israel is determined to thwart these objectives. It has the means of
meeting its basic defensive needs for some period to come until such a time
as other alternatives are found for the crucial supplies required.


6. The French Government, in pursuing its embargo policy, has claimed that
its intention is the reduction of tensions in the region. Its effect has
been exactly the opposite. By seeking to handicap Israel's strength and
defensive potential, the French Government has undermined in a very real
manner the prospects of peace in the Middle East. The embargo, and the
unfounded reasons for its imposition, has inevitably deepened the crisis.






FRENCH EMBARGO AGAINST ISRAEL


It has encouraged Arab intransigence against peace talks. It has raised
Arab hopes of a military solution, and it has struck a blow at the Jarring
mission at a time when Ambassador Jarring is preparing to resume his talks.


7. Recent French policy disqualifies Paris from playing any useful role as
a steadying influence in the Middle East. In choosing a policy that dis-
criminates so manifestly against Israel, the French Government has for-
feited its potential for constructive action. This is particularly painful
to Israel both for its own sake and because of the traditionally friendly
relations between the two peoples. Israel holds out the hope that the true
sentiments of friendship of the French people toward Israel will again find
expression in the policies of the French Government.


-2-


January 15, 1969




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