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Jordan official says overcrowding at West Bank crossing ‘unprecedented’

20 Jul 2022 By AFP

South Shouneh, Jordan – The King Hussein (Allenby) crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank is facing ‘unprecedented’ traveller numbers, a Jordanian official said on Tuesday, blaming Israeli authorities for overcrowding at the crossing.

There are a number of official crossings between Israel and Jordan, which signed a peace treaty in 1994.

Palestinians can only use the King Hussein (Allenby) crossing with the Israel-occupied West Bank.

“What is happening now is an unprecedented rise in the number of travellers compared to previous years,” the head of bridge security, Colonel Raafat Maaytah, told AFP on Tuesday.

He cited reasons including an increase in travellers with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the recent Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and the feast of Eid al-Adha.

Maaytah said the number of passengers seeking to cross from Jordan was ‘around 6,000-7,000’ daily, adding that the Israeli authorities were only allowing entry for around ‘4,000-4,500’ passengers, leaving some stranded.

Israel, the Palestinians and Washington announced during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region last week that the United States would provide assistance to enable the crossing to stay open 24 hours a day, after Moroccan mediation on the issue.

Media reports have said the extended hours are expected come into effect from September.

In the waiting hall inside the King Hussein Bridge building, where verification and passport procedures are handled, about 350 passengers were seen waiting their turn to board buses to cross to the other side.

According to the Jordanian authorities, the King Hussein Bridge has received more than one million travellers since the beginning of the year.

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