chapter  7
The change in France’s attitude to Egypt
Pages 10

At the beginning of the 1960s, Franco-Israeli relations were based to a great extent on a common hostility towards Egypt. Israel perceived Egypt as the main danger to its existence – the country was a powerful military force, equipped with Soviet weapons, that overtly declared its aggressive intentions. Egypt also followed a revisionist foreign policy in the Middle East, the most important aspect of which was the attempt to unite the Arab world, disrupting the balance of power to Israel’s detriment. France’s hostility, by contrast, was principally motivated by the aid Cairo provided to the Algerian rebels. Yet once the Algerian affair had concluded, signicant issues continued to divide France and Egypt. The three main difculties were:

1 Competition for inuence among the former French colonies in Africa. In contrast, the French generally considered the Israeli presence in Africa a positive factor, even if this was not completely devoid of problems.1