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Israel to Seek U.S. Aid for Building of National Irrigation System

Israel will shortly submit to Washington a request for financial assistance for the building of a national irrigation system using the waters of the Jordan River, it was learned here today.

The request will most likely be put formally to the U.S. Export-Import Bank which recently granted Israel a $25,000,000 loan for local irrigation schemes which, however, do not visualize the use of Jordan waters.

It is believed that the Israeli plea for assistance will refer to the regional water development plan proposed several years ago by Eric Johnston, then acting as President Eisenhower’s personal representative in the Middle East. When the Johnston plan fell through, due to Arab intransigeance. It was suggested that each country in the region develop its own irrigation and power programs–but in such a fashion that it could later fit into a regional network.

With this goal in mind. Jordan–assisted by American experts–has worked out plans for the utilization of the Yarmuk River, main tributary of the Jordan River, which is in small part used by Israeli farm settlements. At the same time that the Jordan plan for Yarmuk irrigation development took final shape, this week, Israel’s plans for use of the Jordan River were completed and will be forwarded to Washington, together with the request for financial support.

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