Friday, November 02, 2012

  • Friday, November 02, 2012
  • Elder of Ziyon
Much has been written about how Israel supposedly makes it difficult for Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank to export goods to the EU and beyond.

But the PA is right next to a friendly Arab country which claims to want to help their Palestinian brothers. What is the situation with trade between the PA and Jordan?

Last month, a free trade agreement was signed between the PA and Jordan. But details are hard to come by.

In fact, the only concrete change I have seen is that now, Jordan will allow Palestinian Arab visitors to bring individual jars of olive oil across the border in order to give them as gifts to friends.

This is hardly a breakthrough.

Jordan allows only some $35 million of goods to be imported from the PA annually, while it exports double that amount to the PA.

And Jordan has far more onerous restrictions on goods coming from the PA than Israel does. A UN news report last year that concentrated on Israeli restrictions grudgingly included this short section:
Most Palestinian traders say it is still quicker and cheaper to export goods via Israel than Jordan.

Palestinian goods moving to or from Jordan must cross Allenby Bridge, where cargo is removed from Palestinian trucks, inspected, and then loaded onto Jordanian trucks. The process takes 4-8 hours or longer, and Allenby’s scanners cannot handle large cargo, reports the World Bank.

Since containers are prohibited from entering Jordan or Israel, Palestinian shippers say they often reconfigure cargo onto smaller pallets for inspection, and there is no cold storage.

If Palestinian shippers had consistent access to outside markets via Allenby Bridge, it could increase trade by as much as 30 percent annually, according to Paltrade.
If Jordan loves Palestinian Arabs so much, and is not worried about security issues the way Israel is, why has it been dragging its feet in lifting the restrictions on trade from their brothers?

And why is there no pressure on Jordan when they hold a major key in helping the Palestinian Arab economy? Why are there no news articles about how Jordan has been doing everything possible to restrict Palestinian Arab imports? Where are the NGOs and "human rights" organizations?

The answer is, of course, that if Israel cannot be blamed - it isn't important.



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