Summer 1961: When France Was Considering Creating a “French Israel” in Algeria - THE FUNAMBULIST MAGAZINE
De Gaulle commissions French parliamentary Alain Peyrefitte to consider scenarios of a partition of Algeria in which French interests will remain. In a report that was shortly later published as a book, Peyrefitte thus imagine six hypotheses of partition in a program that he (and many with him) candidly calls an “Israelization of Algeria.” The idea would be to declare the Sahara southern region a “neutral” territory, while the populated north of Algeria would be divided between the new independent Algerian state and another one gathering the European settlers and Algerians who would like to remain French, closely affiliated to France. Although Peyrefitte systematically refers to Israel and its successes (!) throughout his report, he writes that he would prefer a “French-Muslim Lebanon” than “a French Israel” — he indeed considers the hostility of Israel’s neighbors as somehow not desirable for this new state! The most limited scenario would consists in two French ‘islands’ around the cities of Oran and Bone (current Anaba), where the settlers are in majority, while the most extensive one would cover the entire northwestern part of Algeria, all the way to Algiers, which is imagined as a shared city in all hypotheses — remember, we are in the summer of 1961, exactly when the Berlin wall starts to be built.