Israel's formal withdrawal of its troops from the West Bank of the Suez Canal began on Friday (25 January), and the first phase was due to be completed by 8 a.
Israel's formal withdrawal of its troops from the West Bank of the Suez Canal began on Friday (25 January), and the first phase was due to be completed by 8 a.m. on Monday (28 January). Under the agreement with Egypt, which was negotiated by the United States' Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, the first stage of the Israeli withdrawal would leave fre??? the encircled city of Suez at the southern entrance of the Canal. United Nations troops will then move in between the thinned out Egyptian forces and the Israeli lines in the Sinai Desert when the withdrawals are completed after a forty day period.
However, the first movement of Israeli troops under the disengagement agreement, took place against a background of complaints and protests by the news media in Tel Aviv about the lack of facilities for reporting the withdrawal. On Sunday (27 January) the State-owned Israeli Radio apologised to listeners for being unable to give a first-hand account of the troop withdrawal - apparently because of an official ruling. An announcer told listeners that the Radio's own reporter had been ordered out of the area.
An Army statement later said that they did not want the initial stages of the separation of forces to be reported from the spot, because that would only show the Israeli withdrawal. The Army promised that correspondents would be allowed back when the Egyptians began thinning out their forces.
On Thursday, foreign correspondents were allowed to go to the West Bank area to report the signing of the final arrangements. But afterwards the Israli Defence Minister, General Moshe Dayan, ordered a ban on all on-the-spot coverage until Monday, when special facilities would again be provided.
A statement was then issued by the Foreign Press Association complaining about the Defence Minister's action, and stating that the Association did not have "such a low opinion of the public's ability to understand the facts". The statement described the ban as "political motivated news management." Israeli newspapers also attacked the Government for not allowing news coverage of the withdrawal.