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Jordan Attacks on Israel Water Projects Receive Major Rebuff

The rejection by the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission yesterday of a Jordan complaint against the Israel irrigation scheme in the Beisan Valley was greeted today by Israel political circles as a significant blow to Jordan’s planned campaign to halt all Israel development work stemming from the Jordan River.

The MAC decision came yesterday when Lt. Col. Charles F. Brewster, new chairman of the armistice unit, abstained on the Jordan complaint that the Beisan Valley irrigation project violated the armistice agreement by giving Israel a military or political advantage. The complaint also charged that the development would deprive a “substantial number of Jordanian citizens of the basic means of livelihood and therefore must be construed as a hostile act.”

Explaining his abstention, Col. Brewster said that the complaint could not legally come under the terms of the armistice pact defining “hostile activities. ” He asserted: that “an act of one party may prejudice the welfare of the other without necessarily constituting an ‘act of hostility’ within the so far accepted meaning. “

A report received here today said that Jordan was considering taking the matter to the Security Council in view of the MAC’s action. Jordan has consistently opposed Israel’s work on the Jordan River despite the fact that it has all been done in Israel territory and despite the fact that all water taken from the river will be removed from the stream as it flows through Israel territory.

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