Israel and U.N. Truce Chief in Deadlock over Jordan Canal Issue

Israel Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and United Nations truce supervisor Maj. Gen. Vagn Bennike met here today for an hour and a quarter to discuss the dispute over the Israeli canal along the Israel-Syrian border. At the end of the meeting the issue was still deadlocked with the UN truce chief demanding immediate and indefinite abandonment of the project and Israel refusing to call off its work.

A joint communique issued after the meeting stated that it had been agreed that after Gen. Bennike submitted his report on the situation to the UN Security Council the matter might be pursued further in the Council. It was learned that Mr. Sharett had offered to have work halted for a fixed period to help Gen. Bennike complete his investigation. The General, however, was uninterested in this proposition and demanded the indefinite and immediate stoppage of work.

The Palestine Electric Corporation has sent a letter to Gen. Bennike asserting that halting of the work on the hydroelectric canal on the Jordan River in the Israel-Syrian demilitarized zone would be an infringement on its concession to generate electric power in that area of Palestine.

The letter also stated that work on the canal has not been halted, adding that if it were the corporation reserves the right to raise the matter again since such action would mean considerable financial loss to the corporation. In a covering letter to the Israel Government, dispatched along with a copy of the letter to Gen. Bennike, the corporation says that the government cannot order a stoppage of work on the canal because such action would be illegal. A copy of the letter to Gen. Bennike was also sent to the UN Security Council.

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