The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) is investing about 17.5 million NIS in the upgrading of the merchandise compound at the Allenby Bridge, which will enable a 30% increase in the transfer of Palestinian goods.
Date: 03.11.13 Author: Ariella Lemberg
In order to improve and facilitate the process of transferring the goods brought into the Palestinian Authority, it has been decided to establish a site for customs checks and X-ray examination of containers by setting up a Radiography system (a fixed device for X-ray examination of containers). The project is currently in the planning stage and is expected to last two years. The X-ray machine was contributed by the Dutch Government and the cost of constructing the compound will amount to 35 million NIS – 17.5 million of which will be financed by the COGAT. The rest of the financing will be split between the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and the Israeli Tax Authority.
As of today, the transfer of goods at the Allenby Bridge is carried out as follows: goods transferred through the crossing, which are intended for the Palestinian Authority, are transferred from a truck arriving from one side of the border to a truck on its other side by the “back to back” method. The customs and security checks are performed during the transfer. This process causes a considerable slowdown of the transferring of the goods, imposes limitations on the size of the goods that can be transferred and prevents the passage of goods that require refrigeration. According to an examination conducted by the EU representatives, it turned out that at the end of the project a 30% increase in the transfer of goods through the crossing to the Palestinian authority will be possible.
In recent years, a variety of upgrading and construction projects on the Allenby Bridge Crossing were carried out, financed by the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria and the Airport Authority, with the aim of improving the quality of service at the site, facilitating processes and shortening waiting times. In 2013 the following projects were concluded: upgrading the exit halls in Jordan at a cost of 13 million NIS, regulating the traffic at the Allenby Bridge at a cost of 1.7 million NIS and renovating and expanding the export surface at the freight wing. In addition to the projects that were carried out, there are other projects which are now being carried out and planned, such as: adding two checkup pits at the freight wing, establishing a duty free shop, remodeling the entry gates to the terminal, remodeling the entry halls and setting up a device for X-ray examination of containers at the goods crossing point.
As was agreed in the Oslo Accords, the Allenby Bridge Crossing serves as the international crossing point for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. The crossing, which is managed by the Jordanian Crossings Authority on one side and the Israeli Airport Authority on the other side, is the central “Exit Gate” for the Palestinian population on its way abroad. In addition to pedestrian traffic, Allenby serves as the central entry and exit point for goods imported/exported through Jordan.
The Civil Administration maintains a permanent representation at the Allenby terminal, which is in charge, among its many duties, of handling issues of population documentation and registration, quality of service for people arriving at the Bridge, direct communication with the Palestinian population arriving at the crossing as well as protecting the channel of the transported goods.
“Many projects intended to serve the Palestinian population moving through the crossing are now being carried out” said the Allenby Bridge commander, Major Husam Abu Zalaf. “We will do anything we can to provide the Palestinian passenger and the Palestinian merchandise all the necessary services for the speediest and most convenient crossing.”