World Bank: Gaza crossing deal largely unfulfilled

March 6, 2006 22:38


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A new World Bank report says an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on Gaza border crossings has not been fully implemented, largely due to "complex, haphazard and inefficient" procedures at the Israeli-run Karni cargo terminal. The report says that although the agreement stipulates that 150 trucks must pass from Gaza through Karni to Israel each day, the daily flow in February was 43 trucks, unchanged from the period preceding last summer's Gaza withdrawal. Israel has closed the crossing on and off since Jan. 15 because of what it says are security concerns. The World Bank said procedures at the terminal, where consumer goods and agricultural products are passed through US-supplied scanning equipment and then reloaded onto Israeli trucks, causes losses to perishable cargoes, encourages corruption and forces Palestinian producers to rely on Israeli middlemen. In addition to criticism of Israeli management of the Karni facility, the World Bank said the PA was compounding the problem by failing to set up a unified border agency to apply regulations and coordinate with Israeli customs and border security personnel, among other duties.

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