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Growing Economic Unity Between Israel and Territories Defended

January 9, 1973
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A senior Army official today defended the growing economic interdependence between Israel and the administered Arab territories which he said was the outcome of a natural process of supply and demand rather than special planning. He said there were presently 58,000 Arabs from the territories working daily in Israel, an “accomplished fact” which he said was “stronger than any planning.”

Some Israeli leaders, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir among them, have taken a dim view of the growing Arab work force in Israel. They have warned that this could dead to an unbalanced society-in which Israelis would constitute an employer class and the Arabs the menial laborers.

But the views of the Army official are also shared by many Israelis. They believe that the free movement of labor between the territories and Israel proper raises the Arabs’ living standards, contributes toward a normalization of life in the territories and improves security. In the long run, they say, it provides a solid foundation for co-existence and helps eliminate the false image now prevailing between Jews and Arabs. The establishment of closer ties founded on economic, cultural and educational processes will assure peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs when a peace treaty is eventually signed, these sources say.


Israeli authorities, meanwhile, are taking measures to improve the living conditions and security of Arab refugees in the Gaza Strip. Refugee camps in the Strip are being thinned out. At Raffah, the largest camp, 100 families have already been-relocated and 100 dwellings in the camp have been demolished to make way for roads, it was reported today.

Another 150 families will be evacuated to new houses shortly and 600 more new flats are under construction in the Khan Yunis area. Refugees in the area of Gaza township are being offered government land on which to build homes with their own resources. Israeli authorities will provide water and electric systems, schools, clinics and civic centers in the newly developed areas. Gaza itself is without a mayor. The municipality is currently governed by an Israeli team aided by local officials.

Prime Minister Golda Meir will address the 1973 Israel Bond Inaugural Conference in Miami, it was announced today by Ira Guilden, president of the Israel Bond Organization. The dinner on March 3 will pay tribute to Sam Rothberg a founder and the present general chairman of the Israel Bond Organization.

The second U.S. postage stamp to honor a Jew, an 8c commemorative honoring the noted composer-pianist George Gershwin, will be issued Feb. 28.

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