Israel Permits West Bank, Jordan Arabs to Cross River to Visit Families

Another step to facilitate contacts between West Bank residents and their relatives in Jordan was announced in the Knesset (Parliament) by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan last night. He said, in reply to a question, that Jordanians will be permitted to visit relatives on the West Bank if those relatives submit a request on their behalf. There are already several requests pending from Jordanians. Israeli Arabs and Arabs living in Israel-administered territories may visit Jordan. Gen. Dayan said, for periods of up to seven days if their visits are private. No time limit is placed on business visits.

(The Jordanian Minister of Reconstruction and Development accused Israel of trying to force “the trained and educated Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank to leave” and said Arab refugees were coming to Jordan from Israeli-held territory in a “continuing flow” of 4,000 to 5,000 monthly, the Christian Science Monitor reported from Amman today.

(The paper quoted the minister as saying that “we must find some way to prevent this. Closing the Jordan bridges may be the only answer.” He complained that the newcomers strained Jordan’s resources.)

Gen. Dayan warned today that depositors in Jordanian banks in East Jerusalem, closed by Amman authorities since the June war, stand to lose all but ten percent of their money unless the banks are opened soon. If not, he said, the banks will be turned over to an official receiver and 90 percent of their assets, held in Amman, will be cut off. East Jerusalem businessmen have gone to Amman several times in recent months to try to arrange for the banks’ re-opening but have failed to reach an agreement with the Jordanian authorities.

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