Israel Concerned over Future of Its Villages in Jordan Valley

Grave concern over the future of Israeli villages in the Jordan valley which have been using Yarmuk River waters is felt here following announcement of a Jordan-Syrian pact for use of the Yarmuk River for power stations and irrigation projects in the Arab states, Diversion of the Yarmuk for these purposes would dry up irrigation, systems in some Israeli villages.

It was reported today by Haaretz, independent newspaper, that the World Zionist Organization has demanded international action to prevent damage to the Israeli settlements. The paper added that the Israel Government has already contacted United States authorities responsible for the Point Four programmer, under which the Syrian-Jordan scheme would be financed. Israel circles point out that if this plan goes through, Point Four funds pledged to develop underdeveloped areas would be used to turn flourishing fields into a desert.

The Israelis claim that the area now watered by the Yarmuk could be irrigated by a major change in the irrigation system and a diversion of the course of the Jordan River, Such action, they point out, would deny water now used by Syrian villages on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. To guard against major dislocations to all parties, the Israelis would like a tri-partite agreement covering the use of Yarmuk River waters.

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