Arab Non-cooperation Mood in Jerusalem Fades; Defense Ministry Takes over

Moslem dignitaries in the occupied West Bank section of Jordan were informed today by Israeli authorities that Moslem affairs in the area will be dealt with hereafter by the Defense Ministry instead of by the Religious Affairs Ministry. The move was designed to stem Arab unrest in the area which led to the banishment Monday of four Arab notables to Jewish cities in northern Israel.

The information was conveyed to the Moslem officials after a Cabinet meeting which considered the problem. The dignitaries had complained of “unwarranted interference” by the Religious Ministry in their internal affairs. The mood of “non-cooperation” by Arab residents appeared today to have faded. Complete calm, with a business-as-usual atmosphere, reportedly prevailed in all Israeli-held Arab territories.

More houses near the Western Wall in the old sector of Jerusalem will be demolished soon to increase the length of the Jewish shrine area from 30 to more than 100 yards, officials reported today. Owners of the houses will be compensated in accordance with Israel law.

An agriculture Ministry official said today that Israel had no objection to a request by citrus grove owners in the Gaza Strip for permission to continue to export their crops to their traditional customers, the eastern bloc countries.

Ahiel Amiad, the Ministry director general, added that last season, the Gaza Strip produced 2,000,000 cases for export and that, if the owners were unable to sell their crops, Israel would have to deal with that surplus as it now does in farm surpluses in the occupied West Bank of Jordan. Expressing pessimism about the prospects of such sales, Amiad said the problem was qualitative and not quantitative. He said that Gaza citrus trees were not treated and maintained in the manner applied to Israeli trees.

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