WASHINGTON (May. 16)
Israel’s Bnot Yaacov water development project–which is strongly opposed by Syria–was believed discussed yesterday when President Eisenhower received Ambassador Eric Johnston at the White House for a discussion of the current status of plans for regional development.
Mr. Johnston, who is the President’s special envoy, refused to divulge to reporters the specific topics discussed. Nor would he say if he had immediate plans to return to the Middle East. It is known that the President has been informed by the State Department that a resumption of work by Israel at Bnot Yaacov may ignite Arab-Israel warfare.
A board of water experts recently published findings on Israel’s own water development plan in which resumption of the Bnot Yaacov project was recommended as consistent with the Johnston Plan. Israel has indicated it will not wait indefinitely for Arab agreement. Syria, meanwhile, has threatened aggressive military measures, if Israel resumes operations at Bnot Yaacov. The State Department has urged Israel to refrain from work on the project.