JERUSALEM (Sep. 14)
Experts on Arab relations predicted here today, as the Arab summit meeting at Casablanca moved into its first full day, that there would be renewed pressure on Lebanon to resume diversion work on Lebanese headwaters of the Jordan River as part of a general Arab plan to curtail water supplies for Israel’s Negev irrigation project.
Lebanon has carried out some diversion work which is said to be not in conflict with Israel’s Jordan River interests, but rather designed primarily for Lebanon’s own irrigation needs. Anticipating such Arab pressure, Lebanese officials have already asserted that Lebanon has done all it could in such diversion, while the Arab League has defaulted on promised military measures to protect individual neighboring Arab states against possible Israeli retaliation for such diversion efforts.
(The London Daily Telegraph declared editorially today that fear of Egyptian domination was preventing both Syria and Lebanon from providing Egyptian President Nasser with military facilities on their territories. The Telegraph added that, without such joint military protection, the planned diversion of the Jordan River waters would be an ineffectual but still risky challenge to Israel. The Telegraph asserted that Nasser himself “has doubts about the usefulness of the Casablanca conference and, if this summit runs true to form, it may well be the last for some time.”)