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Cablegate: Jordan Valley Crossing Re-Opened to Palestinian

VZCZCXRO5859
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2085 3251536
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201536Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3302
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 002085

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA/IPA FOR GOLDBERGER/LENTZ; NSC FOR PASCUAL
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE/MEA:MCCLOUD/BORODIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID EAGR ETRD KWBG IS
SUBJECT: JORDAN VALLEY CROSSING RE-OPENED TO PALESTINIAN
AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

REF: JERUSALEM 1985

1. (SBU) Summary: The Bardala/Bisan crossing in the Jordan
Valley was reopened to Palestinian agricultural shipments on
November 13. As a result, Palestinian farmers plan to export
85 percent of their Jordan Valley agricultural exports
through that crossing. Israeli settlers have access to the
crossing 24 hours/day, while Palestinians are limited to five
hours/day and incur high shipping costs. End summary.

Exports given limited access to crossing
----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Bardala/Bisan crossing in the northern West
Bank was re-opened to Palestinian agricultural exports on
November 13, following its closure to such shipments on
October 1, according to Palestinian farmers and USAID
contractors. Roughly 85 percent of Palestinian agricultural
exports from the Jordan Valley should pass through
Bardala/Bisan this season, according to farmers.

Israeli settlers enjoy lower shipping costs
-------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Palestinian farmers have access to the crossing
Sunday through Thursday, 1100-1700 hours, and must use the
back-to-back transfer method at the border. This involves
two trucks for each shipment -- one for the West Bank side
and another for Israel -- increasing Palestinian farmers'
shipping costs. Palestinian exports are also subjected to
GOI inspections with sniffing dogs. Israeli settlers in the
Jordan Valley are able to use the crossing 24 hours/day,
seven days a week, driving straight through the crossing
without inspection.

4. (SBU) Comment: The GOI's decision to re-open the
crossing, even for limited hours, for Palestinian exports is
a direct result of USAID engagement -- and that of their
contractors -- at the local level. End comment.
WALLES

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