France’s M.E. Policy is Endangering Free World

Newspaper: Jewish Herald
posted on:
25 In jan 1977
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Arabs of Israel, Palestinians. Ideologies - Communism, Fascism. States - Egypt, France, Soviet Union (Russia). Security - Fundamentals of Israeli Security. Foreign Policy - Israel-France Relationship. Peace , peace process with Egypt
Begin discusses the difference between peace, and progress towards peace, and other policies such as "non-belligerance" or armistice, or truce. After explaining why Israel should not agree to go back to the borders agreed on in 1967, he proposes granting Palestinians the option to accept citizenship in Israel. He shares his opinions about the possibility of having a Soviet base in the Middle East, and how catastrophic that would be. He stresses how important peace is to Israel, and how much they wish to achieve this goal with Egypt and continue a friendly relationship with France.
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"France's M.E. Policy is Endangering Free World"

TOWARDS THE END OF 1976, I addressed members of both Houses of the French Parliament from the rostrum of the Senate, through the good offices of Israel's dear friend, Alain Poher, president of the Senate.

My subject was the Middle East and Eretz Israel, the Jews and the Arabs, security and peace.

This is what I told the members of both Houses and the other invited guests:

We want peace. Every Israeli citizen hates war and bloodshed and longs for peace. The question is: which is the road to peace? President Sadat of Egypt has latterly been waging what has been called a "peace campaign" – which recalls to those of us who experienced it, a similar campaign in the Europe of the 1930's. So that free men should not once again be misled, we should examine Sadat's three proposals carefully.

He has proposed signing an agreement of non-belligerency with Israel. What is that? He says it is not a peace treaty, since "peace is possible in this generation."

So, is non-belligerency an armistice, or a truce? Whatever it is, it is not peace.

Every peace treaty affirms in its opening paragraph that the state of war between the parties has come to an end. Then follow other articles determining borders, diplomatic, political and economic conditions and so on.

Even the Soviet-Japanese declaration of October 1956, which states specifically that it is not a peace treaty, promises in its opening paragraph not only an end to the state of war between the two States but also the maintenance of good neighbourly relations, the establishment of full diplomatic links, the arrangement of economic ties, and more. Only a final territorial agreement is postponed until the signing of a peace treaty.

We have only one example, at the moment, of the proclamation of a state of non-belligerency. When World War II broke out, Mussolini announced that Italy was in a state of non-belligerency.

That declaration did not prevent him from joining in the war the moment France began to reel under the mass of German armour.

So it should be clear to everyone that non-belligerency means non-peace.


Sadat's second proposal is that Israel should retreat to the lines of June 4, 1967. Yet those were the lines in which we had not a single day of peace, in which there was continuous bloodshed.

The aggressors reached as far as Ashkelon and Ashdod, the outskirts of Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba and Petah Tikvah, and to the heart of Jerusalem. And for almost 20 years, the Arabs refused to make peace with us within those lines.

On the contrary, as they themselves proclaimed, they laid plans to throw us into the sea.

That design was not to be wondered at. Our eastern line was a bare 14 kilometres from the sea. They looked at the map and uttered that the day would come…They imagined that day had come in May-June 1967. But we exercised our legitimate right to national self-defence and shattered their plans.

I would like to invite you, members of parliament, to visit me in the Knesset. I shall ask you to look through the window and see the hills of Bethlehem – from which the Knesset was shelled ten years ago.

Does anyone expect us to agree to recreate those conditions? Is there a nation in the world that can claim to have the moral right to ask us to commit that terrible blunder?

On this matter of not returning to the lines of June 1967 there is national consensus including both the Government and the Opposition – all the parliamentary parties except the communists, who are subjugated to Moscow to an even greater degree than were the French communists in the days of Thorez.

There are divisions of opinion and different schools of thought in Israel, but on this issue the overwhelming majority is united.

Sadat's third proposal is that there should be a State, which is calls "Palestine", in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – linked by an Arab-controlled corridor.

First of all, let us consider the name: Palestine. It is important, because the world is faced with lying propaganda (and successful, too) which has not been experienced since the days of Goebbels.


What is Palestine in French? Everyone knows that it is the word that, 3,000 years ago, was written as Land of Israel. Every democratic country knew that not so long ago. France itself was one of the signatories of the mandate granted to Great Britain at San Remo to facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

How was that international agreement achieved?

Do we not recall that the preface to that famous document affirmed that recognition was accorded to the historical connection between the Jewish people and Palestine.

Yes, that historical connection was affirmed between a land called PALESTINE and the JEWISH PEOPLE. It was the Roman emperor, Hadrian, who, trying to obliterate the Jewish connection with the Land of Israel, proclaimed that it would henceforth be called Palestine. Since there is a State of Israel in Eretz Israel, there can be no talk of a State of Palestine. The concept is a fraud, and its purpose is to mislead. What is aimed is an additional Arab State, the 22nd, whose purpose will be to jeopardise the existence of the single Jewish State.

That purpose would be achieved by placing every city and settlement in Israel within artillery range of the Land of Israel controlled by enemies more cruel than any since the days of the Nazis.

The claim that, in any case, there are ballistic missile that could achieve that aim from afar is spurious. There are deterrents that could make their use hazardous. But the Soviets would have no compunction in supplying their main ally in the Middle East (an Arafat State) with thousands of cannons – as it did to Egypt and Syria in their day.

We shall never forget the surprise of the Day of Atonement, 1973. I am sure you understand.

Certainly, even if an enemy did attack us with massive arrays of artillery, our people would still live. There will be no more Auschwitzes or Massadas in our generation. We hate war, but if our enemies attack us, we shall repulse and defeat them, smash their gun emplacements…and? What would be the result of such a terrible battle?

The logical answer is that today's status quo would be restored.


But what of the civilian casualties, and the casualties among our soldier sons? How much blood must we still give, how many more battles must we fight, in order to restore the status quo – in other words, to ensure our existence?

Why must Jews, men, women and children, live in the shadow of this terrible danger? Let me ask again: Who has the moral right, after all we have endured, to demand that we place our lives in such continuous jeopardy?

It is clear that our right to the Land of Israel is synonymous with the maintenance of our national security. There is no way they can be separated.

Nor can they be separated from the prospects for peace. If Judea, Samaria and Gaza were rent from our control, the prospect of peace between us and the Arabs would be totally dashed.

They have noted that Sadat and his fellow Arab rulers refuse to promise us peace even within the lines of June 4, 1967. All they promise is non-belligerence, which is not peace. So once again our enemies will look at the map and see that only 14 kilometres separate us from the sea. So the non-belligerency would last until…

The conclusion is logical and inevitable: Our right to the Land of Israel, our national security and the prospects of peace are indivisible.



We are thus endangered by the creation of a State called "Palestine" in the midst of the Land of Israel. But you and all free peoples – whose numbers are no more than a few score out of the more than 140 members of the United Nations would also be endangered by it, differently, but still gravely.

Just consider the strategic Middle East which links three continents: Southern Yemen, or Aden, the gateway to the Indian Ocean, is ruled by a pro-Soviet Government. That is also the case with Somalia, on the eastern most edge of the Red Sea. Libya has become a Soviet arsenal. Iraq and Syria are within Russia's sphere of influence…just as are Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Angola and Mozambique.

After all that, does this shrinking free world want another Soviet base in the heart of the Middle East? Without a doubt it would become the central Soviet base in the Middle East, for consider how Russia supported the terrorists of Arafat against Syria, which itself is so dependent on the Kremlin. Russia took that stand because it has great expectations from Arafat and Kadumi.

It looks forward to moving in, logistically, in great length, to those parts of our country which it wants them to take over.

Thousands of miles separate Soviet Russia from Angola – but, after its conquest of Czechoslovakia, Russia improved its logistic machinery to such an extent that it was capable of maintaining a continuous airlift to Angola – and with Cuban help turn it into another Communist State.

From Odessa to the Land of Israel, Soviet Ilyushins or Antonevs could carry vast quantities of sophisticated armaments, with instructors and experts, within a few hours.

As an international military expert wrote in the New York Times, "Within a few months, the 'Palestinian State' would be transformed into a Soviet Base!


Will the free, democratic world once again act blindly, out of weariness? Free men must warn against the repetition of the Munich mistakes that affected all of us.

There are those who say that, because of oil, Israel has become a burden to the free world. In fact, but for Israel, Soviet Russia would today rule the whole of the Middle East, with all its oil resources. And today it is in the mutual interests of the free world of Israel to prevent the establishment of another Soviet base in the heart of the Middle East.

Certainly, we must present a positive proposal to solve the problem of the relations between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority in our land. We have such a solution. We will give them the free option of citizenship. They and the Jewish inhabitants of the Land of Israel will be on equal footing. Those who become citizens will vote for the Knesset. Those who prefer to be residents and not citizens will have equal rights with all Israeli citizens, save only the right to vote.

The Arab minority will be granted cultural autonomy and we will solve the problem of the refugees within our borders, ensuring them proper housing and firm employment.

"Can you live together?" some people ask. Let me state that the concept whereby a country and a State must be ethnically exclusive is a Nazi concept.

It is not always easy to live together – but that is our goal and our approach.


For peace in the Middle East there must be direct, free negotiations between Israel and Arab States. We are ready for such negotiations, without any preconditions. Obviously each side has its standpoint, and these will be discussed around the conference table – but no side can demand advance acceptance of them as a precondition for sitting down to sign an agreement.

Let there be serious negotiations for the signing of a peace treaty – not for any woolly concept like "non-belligerence."

There must be no imposed formula from the outside – such as the American Rogers Plan or the plan of the nine Common Market countries. If such plans are laid on the table, what is there to be negotiated about?

In conclusion, allow me to say some words about Israel-French relations. The chairman has called me a friend of France. That is true. I have loved France from the days of my youth – for its revolution for freedom, its bravery and its struggles for liberty and justice. For that reason, France's Middle East policy during the past decade so pains us who are France's friends.

But even in the most difficult days we have never ceased to believe that the friendship between the two nations would yet be renewed.

All of us – you, friends of Israel in France and we, friends of France in Israel – will strive towards that goal, and we will yet achieve it.

(Translated from the Hebrew by Joe Kuttner)