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February 08, 1980 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, February 8, 1980 19

Official Calls Water Crucial Element in M.E.

WASHINGTON (JTA) —
A Carter Administration of-
ficial stressed last week
that the need for water
could become "a cause of
conflict" or "an imperative
for cooperation" between Is-
rael and Jordan.
Joseph Wheeler, acting
administrator of the Agency
for International Develop-
ment, told the House
Foreign Affairs subcommit-
tee for Europe and the Mid-
dle East that there was only
a "fixed and limited supply"
of water in the area.
"Of particular concern is
the area on both sides of the
lower Jordan River where
Israel, Jordan and the West
Bank share geographically
the surface waters and in
part the underground
waters. The usable capacity
of the principal water re-
source, the Jordan River,
and its natural storage re-
servoir, Lake Tiberias, have
been exploited."

Wheeler, who was the
leadoff witness in the
start of Congressional
hearings of proposed
United States foreign aid
for the 1981 fiscal year,
was asked by Rep. Lee
Hamilton (D-Ind.), the
subcommittee's chair-
man, which country con-
trols the waters of the

Israel Declines
Olympic Invite
to Lake Placid

NEW YORK (JTA) — Al-
though the Israel Olympic
Committee (IOC) has re-
ceived an invitation from
the United States Olympic
Committee to participate in
the upcoming Winter
Games at Lake Placid dur-
ing the early part of Feb-
ruary, the Israelis have
turned down the bid.
Chaim Glovinsky, secre-
tary of the Israel Olympic
Committed, advised the
United States officials, "Un-
fortunately we don't have
enough snow here in Israel
to develop ice skaterS and
skiers. Therefore, we shall
not be able to send competi-
tors who are capable of
meeting the best from
around the world."

Jordan River. He replied
that Israel has access
above Lake Tiberias but
Syria and Jordan have
"some access" to
tributaries of the Jordan
River.

Wheeler pointed out that
"already, inadequate sup-
ply of water and sewage
capacity are creating a
major health problem for
the Jordanian plateau and
the major cities of Amman
and Irbid where over 80 per-
cent of the Jordanian popu-
lation lives."
He said that Jordan
"plans to control" the Yar-
mouk River by constructing
a storage dam at Maqarin
on the border between Jor-
dan and Syria some 30 miles
from Lake Tiberias.

"Within 20 years or so
all the water will be needed
in its first use for urban uses
on the Jordanian plateau,"
he said. "Meanwhile, the
need for water in Israel and
on the West Bank is increas-
ing. Against this back-
ground of regional water
shortage which affects the
vital interest of Israel, Jor-
dan and the West Bank,
water resource questions
constitute a major economic
and political issue."

Wheeler was also asked
about such issues as in-
flation. "The most dif-
ficult case is Israel," he
said. He said attempts
have been made to
encourage the resump-
tion of an earlier growth
rate to combat inflation.

Egypt's inflation is "offi-
cially in the 10-15 percent
range," Wheeler said. He

said a more accurate figure
would be 20-30 percent be-
cause many items, such as
bread, are subsidized by the
government.
Wheeler said that the re-
mittances by the more than
two million workers from
Jordan, North Yemen and
Syria working in the oil-
rich Arab countries are an
important "financial re-
source" for their home coun-
tries.
"Their current annual
remittances are about $5
billion," he said. "Over half
of these workers are in
Saudi Arabia, with Libya
and Kuwait employing a
large portion of the remain-
der." He said that remit-
tances to Egypt total nearly
$2 billion a year.

lion in 1978 and ceased
completely last year,
Wheeler said. On the other
hand, assistance to Syria
almost tripled from $500
million to $1.3 billion.
Similarly aid to Jordan
was $640 million in 1979
and is "estimated at an even
higher level in 1980,"
Wheeler testified.

On another point,
Wheeler said the Middle
East "is affected by rapid
change more than most
areas of the world." He
said "The Near East con-
tains some of the richest
and some of the poorest
peoples of the world." He
named Egypt, Jordan
and Syria among the

"If foreign exchange
earnings from remit-
tances and exports were
reduced sharply there
would be critical shor-
tages," Wheeler said.
"Similarly, a sudden
major influx of returning
migrant workers would
create a major unem-
ployment problem."

Wheeler said the oil-
producing countries have
been providing "on the
order of $2.5 billion an-
nually" to other Arab coun-
tries. However, since the
Egyptian-Israel agree-
ments, the amount to Egypt
has been reduced while in-
creased to other countries.
He said that Egypt re-
ceived $1.6 billion in 1975
and $2 billion in 1977.
Since the Camp David ac-
cords new commitments to
Egypt dropped to $500 mil-

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Discussing
literacy,
Wheeler said only five coun-
tries in the area have adult
literacy rates over 50 per-
cent: Turkey, Jordan,
Tunisia, Syria and Israel.

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