A year ago Egypt and Israel signed an agreement which froze their military dispositions in the Sinai desert.
A year ago Egypt and Israel signed an agreement which froze their military dispositions in the Sinai desert. The agreement has worked because there has not been an outbreak of hostilities, and the vital Gidi and Mitla passes have remained quiet. This is partly because the Israelis and Egyptians have been watching each other, and partly because the United States observer force has been watching both of them. Steve Delaney reports on the three-cornered desert stand-off.
SYNOPSIS: The desert men who call themselves the Free People do not recognise the nuances of international diplomacy, or any flags. To them freedom means the ability to wander where they want to go. And where they want to go is into the passes, because there's water there. The United Nations has spent a lot of time chasing them out. That is perhaps the most consistent and serious of the violations reported to date. And all that means the agreement is working, because the countries involved want it to work. But the Sinai is still a contested area, Egypt and Israel are not at peace, and the passes are still vital. As long as they are, there will be work in the Sinai for the United Nations force, and for the Americans who sit between the two opposing armies.