31. Support Upgraded Infrastructure and Procedures at the Allenby Bridge

The Allenby Bridge effectively serves as the West Bank’s only outlet to the outside world for Palestinians looking to travel abroad. Yet the Allenby facility is inadequate in many respects, characterized by long lines, abbreviated operating hours, and subpar air conditioning despite the intense Jordan Valley heat. The Israeli government has produced some plans to remedy the situation, including the construction of a new terminal and recently announcing its intention to keep the facility open 24 hours a day, and a pilot program to expand the hours has recently begun. Making the Allenby crossing a more bearable experience by renovating the facility in order to process more travelers in an expeditious fashion and allowing a Palestinian Authority presence at the crossing will go a long way toward improving Palestinians’ qualify of life and restoring some much-needed sovereignty to the PA. While Israel naturally focuses on its side of the border, the infrastructure of the crossing on the Jordanian side is in much worse condition. Given Jordan’s poor economic standing, the United States and the international community should create a fund to upgrade Allenby infrastructure on the Jordanian side. In addition to infrastructure, there should be more commerce in the crossing including duty free shops, which today do not exist but if developed can improve the user experience overall and boost economic activity. Finally, even though the Oslo Accords call for Israel and the PA to equally share exit passenger fees between Israel and the PA, as a result of unilateral Israeli price increases, most revenues in practice remain with Israel. According to the Office of the Quartet, the fiscally-struggling PA is eligible for over $100 million of lost revenues (ILS392 million). The two sides should solve the dispute and agree on a mechanism to share revenue going forward, in line with previous agreements.