Jordan Denies it Exported Israeli Products to Kuwait
A senior official at Jordan’s agricultural marketing organization (AMO) denied on Tuesday local and international news reports which claimed that Jordan exported Israeli agricultural products to Kuwait, reported the Jordan Times newspaper.
"Since early 2001, Jordan has totally stopped importing agricultural products from Israel," Mahmoud Hiyari, director general of the state-run AMO told the Jordan Times.
He added that Jordan imports only Palestinian agricultural produce, mainly citrus and "it is in line with the Arab policy to support our Palestinian brothers."
It was reported that Kuwaiti customs officials on Monday seized several Jordanian trucks trying to bring fruit from Israel into the Gulf Arab state in violation of a local ban on Israeli products.
A local news report also quoted Kuwaiti authorities, saying the emirate seized 12 Jordanian trucks loaded with Israeli fruits and vegetables.
Palestinian agricultural products are exported with a Palestinian certificate of origin to all Gulf States except Kuwait, said the paper. According to Nabil Atiyah, deputy head of the Jordan Fruits and Vegetables Producers and Exporters, Kuwait "does not permit Palestinian agricultural products to enter its local market."
Atiyah explained that Palestinian produce destined for the emirate is instead relabeled by Jordanian merchants as originating in Jordan.
"It is not a legal matter, but it is neither something big nor dangerous at the same time," he said, adding that the most important thing to the Kuwaiti authorities is that the produce is not Israeli.
The Palestinian cargo, said Hiyari, came from Palestine itself, however, when it reached the Munta (Karni) Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, it was tested by Israeli security forces who attached a small label in Hebrew to it saying the products had been subject to a security test.
"The goods were seized after we found Hebrew writing on some of the cartons... the other cartons were labeled as Palestinian products," said the news agency quoting an official at the customs department in Kuwait.
Jordanian merchants, according to Hiyari, usually clean or scrape labels in Hebrew off before re-exporting the produce to Kuwait.
"Our brothers in Kuwait saw the Hebrew labels or the scraping and thought that the products were Israeli," he said, adding that the cargo is 100 per cent Palestinian.
The trucks’ overall weight is likely to be around 240 tons. "Just 12 tons of citrus were seized while the rest of the cargo was released," said Hiyari.
According to a government source, Jordanian marketing officials are likely to meet officers from the Kuwaiti embassy on Wednesday to discuss the issue, said the paper.
A source at the embassy told the paper that Kuwait would like to boost its agricultural exchange with Jordan.
"Also, all other Arab products are welcomed in Kuwait, including Palestinian [products]," said the source, who declined to be named.
Kuwait, like many Arab states, has enforced an economic boycott on trade with Israeli companies and banned the entry of Israeli products until a comprehensive peace agreement is reached in the Middle East – Albawaba.com