(Communicated by the Israel Tax Authority Spokesperson)
A new installation for scanning cargo was dedicated today (Tuesday, 30 January 2018), at theAllenby Crossing. It is anticipated that the installation will facilitate an increase in commercial activity at the crossing while improving and enhancing customs inspections, and providing efficient and quality service. The facility will give practical expression to commercial ties between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and also serve commerce between the PA and Jordan.
Among those in attendance were Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Deputy Finance Minister Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen,Israel Tax Authority Director Moshe Asher, PA Economy Minister Abir Ouda, Airports Authority Deputy Director General Shlomo Oren,Israel Customs Administration Director Avi Arditti, Land Crossings Customs Director Ofir Zilberman, Deputy Netherlands Ambassador to Israel Maurits Verhijden, PA Crossings Director Nazmi Mahana and State Employees Union Chairman Ariel Yaacobi, as well as – inter alia – representatives from the Jordanian government, the PA, European embassies, the US Embassy, the UN and the Quartet.
Also participating in today's ceremony were representatives of the many agencies involved in various aspects of the project including the Airports Authority, the Regional Cooperation Ministry, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
The significant and constant increase in the magnitude of PA imports and exports through the Allenby Crossing led to a government decision to build – and invest tens of millions of shekels in – the scanning facility. The Dutch government contributed the scanner itself to the PA. The Israel Tax Authority led the work and was responsible for building and operating the expanded, sophisticated installation which will be able to deal with all types of merchandise, whether in containers or not.
The scanning facility will double the number of containers that can be inspected from 100 to 200 daily, may be operated in all weather conditions, will allow for high level of safety, and will interface with Airports Authority systems, which will expedite the release of merchandise. The facility's rapid new processes will facilitate the transport of goods requiring refrigeration (for example), for which processing time is critical.
Finance Minister Kahlon, PA Economy Minister Ouda cut the ribbon at the entrance to the facility. In honor ofTu B'Shvat, Deputy Finance Minister Rabbi Cohen planted an almond tree andaffixed a mezuzah on the main entrance of the facility.
Finance Minister Kahlon:
"I came to the Finance Ministry following a prolonged stalemate in Israel-PA relations. We decided to take responsibility and advance several joint projects. The project that we are dedicating today is an example of small thing leading to a big change. We have many plans for continued economic cooperation with the PA. On Sunday I am due to meet with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and we intend to continue advancing several joint projects. This week I met with Jason Greenblatt who strongly supports moving things forward. We view Jason Greenblatt and the US as important, fair, principal and the only mediators in advancing regional cooperation."
Israel Tax Authority Director Asher:
"In my view, this dedication of the scanning facility symbolizes the constant continuation of productive cooperation between the Israeli tax and customs authorities and those of the PA, in the context of which we are considering ways to improve tax collection and the enforcement of tax, customs and commercial laws. We and our PA counterparts are also considering ways to advance additional projects regarding customs and VAT. This is to benefit both the PA and the State of Israel."
Israel Customs Administration Director Arditti thanked the partners in building the scanning facility, including the Dutch government for its contributions toward the purchase of the scanner that will increase trade between the PA and Jordan and its neighbors; the Airports Authority, which is working with the Customs Administration regarding planning and implementation while being committed to operating the crossings and providing service to customers; the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Civil Administration for their budgetary, planning and licensing assistance, and for giving high priority to civilian needs. He also thanked the regional Cooperation Ministry for coordinating between all of the Israeli and international government and civilian agencies involved, including the Quartet representatives for studying the economies in the region and locating the keys to lifting impediments and improving regional trade.