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PA, Jordan working to reopen bridge Israel closed in 2005

Feb. 12, 2014 7:09 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2014 9:56 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has been holding talks with Jordan to try and reopen the Prince Muhammad Bridge commercial crossing between Jordan and the northern West Bank, a Palestinian official said.

Undersecretary of the PA ministry of transportation Ali Shaath told Ma'an on Tuesday that a joint Palestinian-Jordanian committee has been tasked with preparing the plans to reopen the crossing.

The move will increase the Palestinian Authority's commercial exchange with Jordan and other Arab countries which "the Israeli occupation" has been impeding, he explained.

Shaath confirmed that Jordan had agreed to reopen the bridge, and that officials in the Palestinian department of civil affairs have been addressing the issue with Israel.

Prince Muhammad Bridge, also known as Damia Bridge, is a bridge over the Jordan River about 15 kilometers to the north of Jericho. The Israeli authorities have kept the bridge shut since 2005.

The closure of the bridge has burdened other available commercial crossings, and has negatively impacted the Palestinian economy.

In October, the World Bank said that a a result of Israeli control over Area C, where the bridge is located, the Palestinian economy suffers an estimated $3.4 billion in losses a year.

The lost potential income is equivalent to some 35 percent of the Palestinian gross domestic product in 2011.
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