Israel and Jordan Reached Agreement on Exchange of War Prisoners, Dayan Reports

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan disclosed last night that Israel and Jordan had agreed to an “all for all” exchange of prisoners of war. The agreement was negotiated through the International Red Cross, with Gen. Dayan signing one form for Israel and the Jordanian Premier signing a second form for Jordan. Under the agreement, Israel will return “some hundreds” of captured Jordanian soldiers — probably 500, including 17 officers — Gen. Dayan said, and Jordan will hand over three Israeli pilots, two of whom had been taken prisoner by Iraq.

Gen, Dayan denied in a press conference that Israel was forcing Arab inhabitants to leave the west bank area and cross the Jordan into the kingdom. He asserted that the Israelis “do not discourage the people from leaving, but we do not encourage it either.” An estimated 100,000 of the more than 1,000,000 Arabs in the area have left Israeli-controlled territory. He said that Israel was currently considering requests that it permit the reunification on Israeli-held territory of families separated by the war, enabling family members now on the east bank of the Jordan to join their relatives on the Israeli-held west bank.

The Defense Minister praised the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, saying it was doing “an excellent job” in aiding the refugees, and noted that it was ready to help the inhabitants of the badly-damaged town of Kalkilya, in the old “bloody triangle,” during the transition period while their homes were being rebuilt and they could harvest their crops. He said life on the west bank would go back to normal starting with the towns.

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