Israeli Court Rules Against U.S. Firm Which Halted Work at Dead Sea

The Beersheba District Court cleared the way for the Dead Sea Works to use equipment owned by the Kaiser Engineering Company in construction of a project at the Dead Sea on which the American firm halted work in a contract dispute.

The court made this possible by withdrawing yesterday a temporary injunction the American firm had obtained to bar the Dead Sea Works from using Kaiser equipment at the site of the project, a potash evaporation system at the southern part of the Dead Sea. The court also sustained the argument of the Israeli firm that Kaiser’s stoppage of work was a breach of contract. Kaiser halted work earlier this year on grounds that engineering specifications for dikes in the proposed system were "impossible to attain."

The Beersheba court found also that the project was "important to the state" and that Kaiser’s 17-day notice of stoppage was not "an argument but a threat" and that the American firm had sufficient time to seek arbitration. The court stressed, however, that its decision should not be considered a precedent for possible future arbitration of the dispute. The court ordered Kaiser to pay court and lawyers’ fees.

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