Israel, West Germany Signed Accord to Strengthen Economic Relations

Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and his West German Counterpart Hans-Dietrich Genscher, signed an agreement here yesterday aimed at strengthening and expanding economic relations between Israel and the Federal Republic. The agreement includes measures to promote and safeguard West German investments in Israel and the exchange of information and other measures that would assist Israeli exports to West Germany.

Allon arrived here last week at the head of Israel’s delegation to the first meeting of the Israel-West German Joint Economic Commission established earlier in the year to increase bilateral trade. The commission is composed of high ranking Israeli and German political and economic leaders. During his stay here, Allon had meetings with Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor Willy Brandt and Helmuth Kohl, leader of the Christian Democratic opposition party who said he would visit Israel after the elections.

Political rather than economic matters were stressed in speeches by Genscher and Allon at a dinner given in honor of the visiting Israeli minister by the West German Foreign Minister. Genscher, who greeted Allon as “my respected colleague and dear friend, Yigal,” called for “concessions by both sides,” to end the Middle East conflict “which affects or burdens all of us.”

He said that leading Arab politicians who have visited West Germany have made it clear that they no longer questioned Israel’s existence and “in this respect it seems an important development has indeed been initiated, making it easier for Israel to take the steps necessary from its side for a peace settlement.” He said West Germany has repeatedly made clear its position, including Israel’s right to exist and “what is needed is to show signs of good will and strive vigorously for a comprehensive peace settlement.”

VIGOROUS DEFENSE OF ZIONISM

In his speech, Allon delivered a vigorous defense of Zionism which he described as the Jewish response to “the most terrible abomination, the Holocaust which the Hitler regime brought upon us.” He said that “Zionism incorporated the wish to build a future in which such tragedian would be avoided. It represents the best in modern Judaism” and “no malicious distortion and no downright lies can alter this truth even when the opposite is decided three times weekly at relevant and irrelevant meetings, including the Institution which calls itself the United Nations.”

Allon said Israel “rejected totally” the possibility of a stalemate in peace moves. It would prefer immediate peace negotiations, but if the conditions for this are not yet ripe. Israel is prepared “to conclude a far-reaching. political agreement combatting the spectre of a new war and the enmity of our neighbors.”

ELEMENTS OF THE ACCORD

The economic agreement signed here included provisions for the establishment of a Trade Center in Israel to keep Israeli manufacturers informed of export possibilities in West Germany and to provide them with vital information about the West German market. The pact also provides the benefits normally granted to developed countries, including subsidies for exhibitions of Israeli goods in West Germany and visits by West German experts to Israel.

An ad hoc working group will be set up to examine questions of industrial cooperation between the two countries, especially in the chemical, electronics and metal sectors, industrial research and development and trade promotion. The two delegations discussed the Arab boycott. According to an official communique, the German side “reiterated its position considering the boycott an obstacle to trade and a practice incompatible with its policy of a free economy.”

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