JERUSALEM (Aug. 5)
Imperial Chemical Industries, the largest British chemical firm and the largest foreign source of Israel’s chemical imports, is planning to withdraw from the Israeli market in a move fully supported if not instigated by the British Government, informed sources here asserted today.
Political observers here noted the prior announcement of the Shell Oil Company and British Petroleum to end their marketing activities in Israel under Arab boycott pressure with the British Government demonstratively refusing to intervene. These sources said the ICI withdrawal plans might not be coincidental but rather a tip off on a detailed London policy aimed at appeasing the Arab leaders at Israel’s expense.
These observers said that while the ICI withdrawal would not seriously hurt the Israeli economy, the chemical concern is a “big name” whose pullout is likely to make a considerable impression and hurt Israel politically by encouraging further Arab boycott pressures.
ICI is presumed to have connections with the British oil industry. Observers here noted reports that the British Foreign Office oil advisor is Harold Beely, recently British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia who was the “expert” on Palestine to Ernest Bevin, the late British Foreign Minister who strongly opposed the establishment of Israel.