Jordanians Close Bridges over Jordan, Refuse Gaza Residents Entrance

Jordanian authorities have closed two bridges over the Jordan River, the Allenby and Damiyah crossovers, to Gaza Strip residents who wish to enter Jordan, even for short visits with relatives there, Israeli authorities said today. This action was taken, Israel believes, in connection with Jordan’s allegation that Israeli authorities are compelling refugees of the Jabalia refugee camp near the city of Gaza to leave the Strip and go to Jordan. This allegation has been emphatically denied by Israeli authorities in letters to United Nations Secretary-General U Thant and to Laurence Michelmore, chief of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Israel has made it possible for Gaza residents to visit relatives in Jordan or even move there, sources here pointed out, in the same way that similar privileges have been extended to residents of other occupied territories. One source said, “for 20 years the Egyptians, wishing to keep refugees impoverished and living in an under-developed condition for political reasons, prevented any movement of refugees from the Strip. Now many wish to go places and see relatives – or just visit. Israel is not evicting anybody or compelling anybody to leave.”

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