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Israel Decision on Resumption on Jordan River Work Expected Soon

A decision by the Israel Government to resume work on the Jordan River hydroelectric project is expected soon, it was reported here today in the wake of statements by Mrs. Golda Myerson, Foreign Minister at a press conference here Monday.

Appearing at a press conference for the first time since assuming her new post, Mrs. Myerson alluded to the Bnot Yaacov project by insisting that “there can be no question” of Israel’s right to carry out, within the confines of her own borders, any development project of benefit to the people. “No self-respecting country would waive that right,” she continued, adding that it was the government’s duty to exploit to the fullest possible extent any natural resource of the country.

Mrs. Myerson pointed to the possibility of cooperation with Israel’s Arab neighbors on a plan for regional development, but ruled out the right of any state. Arab or other wise, to veto any project carried out within the state’s boundaries. Israel sought friendly relations with all states, she said, but such relations must clearly be based on equality and recognition of Israel’s sovereignty.

Although the Arab states have given technical approval to the Johnston Plan for Jordan River development, which would include the Bnot Yaacov project, the Arab states have delayed political acceptance for years, as part of their campaign of refusing to recognize Israel as a state. Syria has threatened to open hostilities if Israel resumes work on the project, which lies in a demilitarized zone completely inside Israel, but bordering on Syria. Other Arab states, notably Egypt, are bound by pacts to come to Syria’s assistance if she is “attacked” by Israel.

ISRAEL TO SEEK RELATIONS WITH ALL ASIAN LANDS, MRS. MYERSON SAYS

Mrs. Myerson said that Israel considered itself an integral part of Asia and would embark on an all out campaign to establish relations with all Asian countries, large or small. She cited the excellent and mutually beneficial relations between the Jewish State and Burma.

The Israel Foreign Minister chided the United States for refusing to supply Israel with defensive weapons, in the face of Communist arming of Egypt and other Arab states. She underscored American-Israeli friendship, but accused the U.S. of failing to meet “the elementary obligation that friendship requires.” Israel’s indignation, she noted, should come as no surprise to the U.S. in view of the danger which Czech arming of Egypt has brought to the Jewish State.

The Foreign Minister, who opened her remarks to the press conference by insisting that her replacement of Moshe Sharett would not mean any change in foreign policy and by stressing Israel’s desire for peace with the Arabs, nevertheless warned that the Jewish State would not tolerate infiltration and armed attacks on Israeli people or property. “It is our policy,” she said. “not to hurt anyone but, at the same time, we shall not allow anyone to injure us.”

She called for scrupulous observance of the armistice pacts by the Arab states as a “forerunner of peace.” She also held out the prospects of great economic and social advances in the region following peace and foresaw the day when Israeli and Arab would be working together in peaceful cooperation.

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