JERUSALEM (Dec. 19)
The Jordanian Government tacitly admitted today that a brisk trade is going on between Jordan and the Israel-occupied West Bank by announcing that a comission has been set up to supervise it. According to the Amman radio, the chief purpose of the commission is to make sure that goods entering Jordan originated on the west Bank and not with “the enemy.” meaning Israel. Severe penalties will be imposed on violators, Amman radio said.
This was the first public admission by Jordanian authorities that trade exists between the East and West banks, although it has been flourishing for months. The human traffic from the East to the West banks of the river continues as well, but on a much smaller scale than the traffic in goods. Only 35 persons crossed the Allenby Bridge near Jericho yesterday to join relatives in the Judaea and Samaria districts under Israel’s family reunion plan. It is reported that some 200 are eligible.
Traffic between the occupied West Bank area and Jordan across the Jordan River cease-fire line has increased to a point where Israeli authorities indicated today they were considering renewal of a busline franchise for such crossings. Two West Bank firms, one from East Jerusalem and one from Hebron, have made application for a franchise. The Israeli Transport Ministry has no objections, but the military governor has not yet replied.