JERUSALEM (Dec. 3)
United Arab Republic President Gamal Abdel Nasser is trying to divert attention from his difficulties in the Arab world by announcing his opposition to Israel’s implementation of the Jordan River irrigation project, Israeli circles declared here today.
Colonel Nasser was reported by Cairo dispatches to have issued a statement opposing Israel’s irrigation project. Observers here, however, are of the belief that he is in desperate need of an anti-Israel issue to cover splits inside the Arab bloc.
Colonel Nasser’s plan to stem Syrian opposition to the merger with Egypt inside the UAR are understood to have run into great difficulties. The Egyptian ruler also fears the effects of the reported move by Iraq to revive the plan for a “fertile crescent,” a move that would join together Iraq, Jordan and the Syrian region of the UAR.
To offset these dangers to UAR hegemony, Col. Nasser is apparently trying to center attention on the Jordan River issue, hoping thereby to create a new “emergency” around which he might rally Arab forces for a “unity” move against Israel.