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‘Unprecedented’ crowding at Allenby crossing due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian entry

Passengers sit in a waiting room on the Jordanian side of the King Hussein Bridge (also known as Allenby Bridge) crossing between the West Bank and Jordan on July 19, 2022. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)
Passengers sit in a waiting room on the Jordanian side of the King Hussein Bridge (also known as Allenby Bridge) crossing between the West Bank and Jordan on July 19, 2022. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

The King Hussein (Allenby) crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-controlled West Bank is facing “unprecedented” traveler numbers, a Jordanian official says, 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 into the West Bank.

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

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

Maaytah says 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 to 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 travelers since the beginning of the year.

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