Oil Nationalization Seen As an Economic, Not a Political Move

Political sources in Jerusalem believe that the oil nationalization in Libya has an economic motive and not a political one. The sources believe that the Libyan move has no connection with the Middle East crisis nor is it aimed to press the U.S. to change its Middle East policy. The energy crisis in the U.S. is also believed to be a result of economic rather than political circumstances. The sources said that the U.S. government shares the same views.

The Israeli press had its own ideas about the Libyan move. Davar (Histadrut) wrote that Israel need not regret the Libyan nationalization. Yet, further developments will be of utmost interest to Israel, the paper said. Haaretz (non-party) noted that with a dash of caution such a step-by-step nationalization, coupled with promises for compensation, Libya will have achieved the goals of Arab oil-producing nationalists. Hatzofeh (National Religious) expressed belief that Libya will get away with nationalizing oil production, running oil installations as in the past, and blackmailing the Western world.

The European Security Conference Coordinating Committee, which debated last week Israel’s possible participation at the upcoming conference, held an unscheduled meeting today in Geneva to try to reach a decision. Israel’s candidature, supported by Denmark, Holland, Norway and Canada, is opposed by Yugoslavia and Malta. Algeria and Tunisia, supported by France, have already been assured participation. The conference is due to open Sept. 18.

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