RAMALLAH, Tuesday, January 19, 2021 (WAFA) – A Palestinian official announced today that a final agreement has been reached with the Israeli occupation authorities to release the equipment of issuing biometric passports, which has been held at an Israeli seaport since 2018.
The equipment will arrive in Palestine within days, Youssef Harb, undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, told WAFA during a phone interview.
He noted that various official authorities have played a major role in order to release the equipment, adding that "we have been informed a few days ago that the equipment will be released, and we are now waiting for it to reach the ministry so as to start issuing the biometric passports."
He pointed out that it will take up to six months to start issuing passports because the system and equipment need to be installed in all districts, adding that passports will be issued at the Ministry's headquarters in Ramallah.
"We started working to implement this system in the country based on the instructions of President Mahmoud Abbas...so that Palestine would be part of the global system, and we contracted with a company in France, and the system and equipment were sent to us but were held by the Israeli occupation authorities in 2018," he added.
Harb expressed hope that the government will later use the biometric system for issuing documents such as identity cards, driving licenses, and medical insurance cards.