Friday, October 29, 2010

(IDF) Overview & Activities Of The Civil Administration’s Trade & Industry Office

"The Civil Administration is the body responsible for the coordination and administration of civilian and humanitarian needs in the West Bank. In order to improve transparency and make as much information available as possible, the Trade and Industry Office, the Civil Administration department which coordinates economic relations and supports development in the West Bank, has published a report on its activities as part of the Civil Administration Quarterly series. The report focuses on three aspects of the Trade and Industry Office: import-export activity from overseas, the facilitation of dual-use items into Palestinian territories, and finally, industrial and economic projects in Area C of the West Bank. Below are the main points of the document:

  • In Areas A and B of the West Bank (around 40% of the West Bank area), most civil authorities are under the Palestinian Authority. These authorities coordinate closely with the Civil Administration. In Area C (60% of the West Bank in which only 150,000 Palestinians reside), the Civil Administration acts as a liaison between Palestinian and Israeli authorities to promote common interests, working for the well-being of both the Israeli and Palestinian populations in the West Bank region.
  • The Economics Branch of the Civil Administration, under which the Trade and Industry Office serves, promotes economic growth in the West Bank by balancing security needs with the needs of Palestinian and Israeli business communities. Projects undertaken in the last year include: (1) extending operating hours for terminals and border crossing points; (2) expanding access to Israel for over 600 prominent Palestinian businessmen; (3) increasing work permit quotas to 25,000, and more.
  • The Economic Branch initiates field visits and professional workshops for Palestinian businessmen in Israel—including guided visits to Israel, seminars with Israeli officials from the Economic Ministry, and promotion of Palestinian business ventures in Israeli trade fares and exhibitions. The Branch staff meets regularly with Palestinian Authority officials and representatives of international organizations promoting economic growth in the West Bank.
  • All Palestinian import/export requests handed over to the Coordinator are generally approved within 24 to 48 hours.

Certain specialized construction goods require an expert opinion and authorization which, until recently took several weeks to procure. The Civil Administration has therefore recruited an expert engineer in order to shorten the process to four working days.

  • In 2009 the Foreign Trade Coordinator processed and granted:

289 import licenses
1199 exemptions from standards and labels
405 requests for the release of bonded goods
632 requests for the registration of new Palestinian importers

  • Some imports are listed as 'dual-use': intended for civilian use but potentially used for terrorist activities. There are 55 items listed by the Civil Administration as 'dual-use' (listed here under 1. ד). The Civil Administration processes requests for these goods and coordinates their transfer. Requests take up to 45 days in which a general security review is conducted. In the last 18 months, out of 177 requests for 'dual-use' imports:

128 were approved
19 were denied
30 are currently being processed

  • Ever since the Second Intifada in 2000, the IDF has banned the use of explosives in Palestinian quarries. However, due to Civil Administration promotion of the quarry industry in the West Bank, the ban on the use of explosives in quarries was lifted in 2009 and today, regulations for transferring explosives in both Israeli and Palestinian quarries in the West Bank are identical. Since the ban was lifted, more than 200,000 kg of explosives were imported to Palestinian quarries. The transfer and use of these explosives is closely monitored by the Civil Administration to prevent potential misuse by terrorist organizations.
  • All phone numbers, email addresses, and website URLs of the Civil Administration staff workers are freely available and provided in the Quarterly, in order to promote maximum accessibility." (source)

See more below.

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