Relations between Israel and Egypt visibly eased further on Wednesday (23 January) when the border between El Arish and Neot Sinai opened.
SV Israeli bus arriving in Egypt
Border officials checking travel documents (3 shots)
SV PAN Israeli bus arriving in Egypt and passengers departing from bus (3 shots)
GV Israeli bus returning to israeli side to border, in Sinai (2 shots)
SV Arab travellers queueing for travel documents into Egypt (2 shots)
SV Israel Police Border Control sign
SV Arab showing documents and having them stamped (2 shots)
Sv Information board on wall, apologising for security searches
SV Arab woman's luggage being searched and X-rayed (3 shots)
SV Israeli soldier pointing way out PAN TO other travellers being searched
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Background: Relations between Israel and Egypt visibly eased further on Wednesday (23 January) when the border between El Arish and Neot Sinai opened. From now on, residents in the area will be able to pass back and forth. The following day, Israel's Defence Minister Ezer Weizman announced in Tel Aviv that the Egyptian-israeli border would be open from Friday (25 January) for private and commercial traffic.
SYNOPSIS: An Israeli bus arrives in El Arish. The border opening was part of the Israeli withdrawal from two-thirds of Sinai desert territory that Israel took from Egypt in the 1967 War. On Wednesday (23 January), Israel formally evacuated more than seven thousand square miles (18,129.86 square kilometres) of the most strategic sector of the desert that Israel had given up under terms of the Camp David agreement. By midnight on Friday (25 January), Israel was to have formally handed over territory up to an interim line stretching from here, El Arish on the Mediterranean coast, to the barren peninsula of Ram Muhammad on the Red Sea.
This Israeli bus was returning to their side of the border in Sinai.
A deadlock still exists between the two countries over Palestinian autonomy. But the massive Israeli withdrawal from Sinai has been completed according to the precise timetable laid down at Camp David in March last year. The line will remain the temporary border until Israel Evacuates the entire Sinai Peninsula by April, 1982.
For nine months, Israeli forces have been bustling to evacuate their forces, most of which have been redeployed in the Negev, inside Israel's 1948 boundaries. Observers predict that Egypt, to begin with, will grant few visas. The open border brings economic problems for Egypt, with wages even for Arab Labour, five times higher in Gaza than in El Arish.