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Jordanian Gun Arrest Underscores Israel’s Smuggling Problem

Mathew Levitt and Lauren von Thaden,
Washington Institute,  Apr 25, 2023

“Along the Jordanian border, 94 percent of smuggling attempts involved weapons while the rest involved drugs; one cache also included 80,000 Jordanian dinars. In contrast, 93 percent of attempts along the Egyptian border involved drugs, only a few included weapons, and one included thirteen bars of gold.”
On April 22, Israeli authorities arrested Jordanian parliamentarian Imad al-Adwan at the Allenby Bridge crossing as he attempted to bring more than 200 guns into the West Bank. Jordanian legislators are typically waved through this crossing, so the arrest was likely driven by forewarning from intelligence authorities. Arms smuggling from Jordan has been on the rise, yet this incident stands out for the number of weapons confiscated, the involvement of a parliamentarian, and the attempted use of an official crossing (as opposed to other points along the insufficiently guarded frontier).
The following analysis is based on information collected by the authors and compiled into an open-source dataset of 98 cases of attempted smuggling operations across Israel’s frontiers (including 35 from Jordan into Israel) over the period March 2021 to April 23, 2023. Although this PolicyWatch focuses on gun smuggling from Jordan, the wider dataset covers weapon, drug, and currency smuggling from Egypt and other jurisdictions as well, drawing on government reports, press releases, news articles, and author interviews.
Increased Smuggling from Jordan
The two-year period documented in the dataset saw a significant rise in weapons smuggling from Jordan into Israel and the West Bank, helping to fuel instability and a surge in terrorism and other violent activity. Israeli police thwarted at least 35 smuggling attempts from Jordan during this time, seizing more than 800 weapons. In 2022 alone, the number of seized weapons jumped to about 570, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Similarly, Jordanian authorities have reportedly thwarted more than 20 such smuggling plots over the past three years, most involving 9 mm handguns. Many additional incidents on both sides of the border were not reported publicly—as the authors learned in private conversations with officials, one or two smuggling incidents occur every week across the Israel-Jordan frontier, some of which are interdicted, and others that are only detected after the fact.
.. [To read the full article, click here]

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