Arab-israel Peace Would Bring Wave of Prosperity to Mideast, Economist Says

An economist told the 54th annual convention of Hadassah here today that Israel and the Arab States would enjoy an era of prosperity if they made peace. Robert R. Nathan, onetime economic advisor to Israel and France and currently advisor on economic affairs to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey told the 2,000 delegates attending the convention that the “greatest contribution to a sound and continuing peace in the Middle East would result from the development of trade and other economic relationships between Israel and the Arab countries. When nations are making progress and peoples’ opportunities for rising living standards are favorable, it is more likely that they will concern themselves with constructive achievements rather than with hostility and war,” he added.

“Israel has the talent and skills and by now the experience of dealing with the environment and the resources in the Middle East which are readily transferable. Therefore, it is entirely realistic to expect prompt and major developments in the Arab countries under peaceful and normal relations in that region,” he said. He added that “Israel’s economic growth is reasonably assured under any circumstances but only if she could divert the hundreds of millions of dollars now devoted to defense efforts could she not only speed her own development but also play a positive role in helping the economic expansion of the entire region.”

I. E. Kenen, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. told the convention that hopes entertained for the emergence of new Arab leadership and policies had not materialized. “No new Arab leadership has risen to overthrow discredited leadership.” he said. “No one in the Arab world is strong enough to call for peace.”

He praised changes in United States foreign policy following the Six-Day War but said there were “many disagreements between Israel and the United States beneath the surface.” These, he said, “may be growing sharper.” He noted that while the United States agreed that boundary questions should be settled before Israel withdrew from Arab areas, the United States expected Israel to make substantial concessions on frontiers, refugees and Jerusalem.

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