TEL AVIV (Jan. 17)
Premier Levi Eshkol reiterated that “any attempt to prevent Israel from using its right to part of the Jordan River waters will be regarded as an encroachment of our borders.”
The Premier made the statement at a luncheon of the Israel Foreign Press Association. He referred to the plan drawn up by Eric Johnston as a special envoy of then President Eisenhower for sharing of the River which was accepted at the technical level by both sides and rejected at the political level by the Arabs. It called for Israel to receive about 40 per cent and the Arab states to get the balance.
The Premier replied to questions about threats made by Arab premiers at the Cairo conference last week and voiced the hope that the threats would not be implemented. But if they are, he added, “these waters are like blood in our veins and we shall act accordingly.” Israel’s defense forces, he stressed, will remain in a state of preparedness to foil any attempt to damage the huge water carrier project. He said the Israel defense Force would similarly remain alert to any attempt to undermine Israel’s sovereignty.
Asked whether he thought the United States would come to Israel’s aid if Israel were attacked, the Premier said he believed in the United States assurances given him when he visited the United States last year. He said, in reply to other questions, that Israel would welcome a disarmament agreement in the Middle East if it included mutual inspection.
SETS CONDITIONS FOR IMPROVING RELATIONS WITH SOVIET UNION
He said Israel would continue to seek to improve relations with Russia on the condition that Russia honored Israel’s sovereignty and honored agreements to discontinue shipment of arms to Arab countries. He indicated that he knew of rumors that American scientists were working on weapons in Cairo and said that even if this were true, it was surely against United States policy.
Israel has dozens of friends, he said in replying to a question as to whether Israel could rely on aid from foreign nations, but ultimately Israel would have to rely on its own forces as a deterrent power, he emphasized.
Commenting on the deadlock at the recently concluded 26th World Zionist. Congress, when a struggle over Revisionist demands for representation on the Jewish Agency executive forced adjournment of the Congress without election of a new executive, the Premier said the executive was based on a coalition. He said exclusion of the Revisionists from the executive need not turn them away from Zionist activity within the framework of the Zionist movement.
It was learned here today that Israel plans to place to place import restrictions on a number of overseas firms which have succumbed to Arab boycott pressure, Purchases from these firms will require prior approval. The firms include two in West Germany, two in Japan, Holland’s Phillips Company, Goodyear of the United States and Pye of Britain.