As Israeli leaders entered a weekend of crucial discussions on the next move towards peace in the Middle East, newsmen were taken into the Israeli-occupied Sinai Desert to tour the Mitla and Gidi Passes.
LV ZOOM INTO GV Vehicle driving into Mitla Pass
LV ZOOM INTO GV Mitla Pass and vehicle driving through (2 shots)
CU Map of Mitla Pass and Gidi Pass and surrounding area
GV TRAVEL SHOT THROUGH Mitla Pass and vehicle passing (2 shots)
LV & GVs Gidi Pass (3 shots)
Initials JW/DW/BB/0215 BB/0205
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Background: As Israeli leaders entered a weekend of crucial discussions on the next move towards peace in the Middle East, newsmen were taken into the Israeli-occupied Sinai Desert to tour the Mitla and Gidi Passes.
The two Passes in the desert -- which separates Israel and Egypt -- dominate the military strategy of the area.
Newsmen were told that total abandonment of the Passes to the Egyptians would impose a severe strain on Israel's military positions in the desert.
The Passes were captured by Israel in the June 1967 War. Egypt is now seeking Israeli withdrawal from them as part of its peace settlement demands. Israel, however, is reluctant to give the Passes back.
Israel has offered to withdraw from the western parts of the 30-kilometre (18-mile) Passes -- gateways to the flat, sandy plain leading to the Israeli border -- while maintaining forces at their eastern necks.
But Egypt stays firm in its demand that Israel should withdraw completely from Sinai, and the United States is reported to be pressing Tel Aviv strongly for a complete military withdrawal from both the Mila and Gidi Passes.
SYNOPSIS: The Mitla Pass in the Israeli-occupied Sinai Desert. The desert separates Israel and Egypt. The Israeli army swept through here during the June nineteen-sixty seven War with Egypt. once through they had a clear run to the Suez Canal. The Pass, and the nearby Gidi Pass, holds a strategic key in the desert.
An army that controls these Passes commands the desert on either side.
But now Egypt is demanding that the Passes -- and the whole of the Sinai Desert -- should be returned if the two countries are to make any kind of peace with each other.
But the Israelis don't want to give up such a vital strongpoint commanding the flat, sandy plain. So far they've said they'll be willing to limit their forces there, but insist ??? retaining an observer corps on the eastern side.