Barlev: Administered Territories More a Liability Than Asset

Gen. Haim Barlev, Israel’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, told a business audience today that while the administered territories were “for the time being more a liability than an asset” and “cost us more than they produce,” he was certain that “in the long run they will be productive and self-sufficient.”

The former Army Chief of Staff told members of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., that his prediction would hold no matter what the future of the areas captured from the Arabs in the Six-Day War, since he could not imagine the borders being permanently closed. At this time, he continued, the territories are tranquil because Israel has raised their inhabitants’ standards of living.

Barlev’s remarks centered on an appeal to the American-Israel C of C to “do the maximum” in importing Israeli products, for which he would be “very grateful.” (Half of Israel’s current imports are American.) Pinpointing Israel’s unique situation, he observed that “our closest markets are overseas markets.” and that “without Israel in the Middle East I doubt very much that Jordan and Lebanon would have been able to exist as pro-Western countries.”

Barlev was introduced by Ronald T. Berner, chairman and president of Curtiss-Wright Corp., which licenses General Motors and holds the rights to the new Wankel engine. Berner called on oil millionaires to apply their wealth to helping eradicate the “misery and suffering” of the Palestinian refugees. He did not elaborate on his plan.

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