The transition from Israeli to Egyptian control of the major Sinai town of El Arish has not been as trouble free as hoped.
The transition from Israeli to Egyptian control of the major Sinai town of El Arish has not been as trouble free as hoped. Most problems have developed at the nearby border with Israel and involve local arabs wishing to cross in both directions. An Israel -Egyptian Commission has held a special meeting in El Arish to try an solve the problems.
SYNOPSIS: The Commission met on Wednesday (13 June) at the re-opened Egyptian Officers Club. Before the handback, the Israelis had used the building as a storehouse. The Israeli delegation was headed by Brigadier Dov Zion. the conference was called after two people were killed by Egyptian border guards during an attempted crossing. Egypt's chief representative at the talks was Brigadier Safi Adin Au Shnaf.
Since the area was handed back to Egypt on May twenty-fifth, the border has been the scene of many disputes.
Soldiers from the United Nation Emergency Force are now supervising the border crossings, along with representatives of the Red Cross. Most of those who arrive from Israel are bound for Cairo.
Those from the Israeli side include Arabs who have been living in the Gaza strip. But a large number of Arabs students, who attended schools in Egypt, have now been allowed to cross to their homes in Gaza. It is the first time that the students have been allowed to return from and across back to Egypt during their holidays.
As the Israeli border police supervise checking procedures there is concern over the future of hundreds of Palestinians ho were sent back to Gaza shortly before El Arish was returned to Egypt. The Gaza police now want to repatriate those with Egyptian identity cards.