TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
The conquest of all the Jordanian-held territory west of the Jordan and of the Gaza Strip posed serious new economic problems for Israel today.
Neither the former Jordanian areas nor the barren Gaza Strip are economically viable entities. There are about 400,000 inhabitants in the narrow Gaza Strip. There is no industry there and the only commercial crop is a low-grade citrus which cannot be exported to Europe and previously found its only market in Egypt.
The West Bank area has an Arab population of about a million. It is an agricultural area with no surpluses for export and little industry. A continued interruption with the East Bank -Jordan proper – might cause further unemployment. The only possible sources of income are the new tourist regions such as Bethlehem and the Old City of Jerusalem where the Jewish holy places are now open to Jewish tourists.
As a result of its conquests, Israel now has the responsibility of feeding some 1,500,000 Arabs. There are estimates here today that Israel would have to allocate between $15-20,000,000 a year for the new territories.