LONDON (Jan. 21)
An Israel Government official told a British audience of business leaders today that his country must react strongly to attempts by Arab guerrillas to disrupt its exploitation of the mineral wealth of the Negev and the Dead Sea. Israel Gal-Ed, director general of the Ministry of Development in Jerusalem, spoke at the annual luncheon of the Anglo-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Although he made no direct reference to it, his remarks were seen as a defense of Israel’s armed foray into Jordan last night to destroy the bases of saboteurs who have been attacking the Dead Sea potash works at Sdom with Russian-made rockets.
Mr. Gal-Ed said the entire Negev area depends on the industrial activity going on around the Dead Sea. He said in 1966, the potash plant produced 500,000 tons, in 1969, 800,000 tons and in 1970 is expected to reach 1 million tons. He said other minerals are being mined for home consumption and export, such as magnesium and copper. According to Mr. Gal-Ed, several American companies are participating in the Negev’s industrial development. He said it was his government’s policy to invite foreign capital and foreign know-how to share in such projects.