Morocco helped mediate 24 hour opening of West Bank's Allenby crossing

The White House said that steps to "establish Palestinian Authority presence on Allenby Bridge" were under consideration.

 Israeli soldiers stand guard near the entrance to Allenby Bridge, a crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Israeli soldiers stand guard near the entrance to Allenby Bridge, a crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Morocco helped mediate an agreement for the West Bank’s Allenby Bridge crossing to be opened 24 hours a day by the end of September to help ease travel for Palestinians.

At present, the crossing, which is the land crossing into Jordan that is mostly used by Palestinians, is open only 14 hours a day from Sunday to Thursday and six-and-a-half hours a day on Friday and Saturday.

News of the crossing’s expanded hours was announced both by Israel and the United States on Friday.

The White House said that steps to “establish Palestinian Authority presence on Allenby Bridge” were under consideration.

West Bank Palestinians who do not have permits to enter Israel use that crossing into Jordan for their foreign travel, but the crossing’s limited hours can create delays and complications.

 Labor leader Merav Michaeli is seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Labor leader Merav Michaeli is seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The expanded hours is one of the gestures made by the US and Israel to the Palestinians that was associated with US President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel.

“President Biden supports creating a more autonomous, efficient and reliable Palestinian experience of traveling abroad,” the White House said.

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli’s office said on Friday that “with Moroccan mediation,” the 24-hour plan was moving forward.

Michaeli and her team have been in contact with the US, Palestinian and Moroccan representatives for several months, the Transportation Ministry said.

“I thank US President Joe Biden, King Mohammed VI and the Kingdom of Morocco for their continued commitment and efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the Middle East,” Michaeli said.

“We are working on the logistic requirements, including recruiting staff, to operate the border crossing – under the authority of Israel Airports Authority – 24/7 as soon as possible,” the ministry said.

It explained that the issue of PA presence was not part of the discussions with Morocco.

Settlers and right-wing politicians have been concerned that the placement of PA officials at the crossing, should that come to pace, would be a tacit nod to Palestinian sovereignty in the Jordan Valley.

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. He then expanded that promise to include all West Bank settlements. Netanyahu then suspended that pledge in 2020 in exchange for the Abraham Accords, under which Israel normalized ties with four Arab countries: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.