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Israel Pledges to Permit Pilgrims to Mecca to Proceed Unmolested

The rulers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia “know well that Israel will permit pilgrims to Mecca to proceed unmolested, “an Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman said tonight in comment on declarations by King Hussein of Jordan and King Saud of Saudi Arabia ordering their subjects not to use the Gulf of Akaba route to Mecca. The spokesman charged that the monarchs’ declarations were motivated by “internal considerations.”

The spokesman pledged that any Arab citizen of Israel who wished to make the pilgrimage to the Moslem Holy City would receive immediate permission. He noted, however, that Israeli Arabs had been denied transit visas by the Arab states despite repeated requests.

Meanwhile, Israel Government circles pointedly refrained from comment on the Western Powers’ notes to the Soviet Union on the Middle East. Nevertheless, satisfaction was evident over the emphasis placed by the United States, Britain and France on the responsibility of the USSR for Arab-Israel tension.