A small step towards easing the travel restrictions between Israel and Jordan was taken on Thursday, when Israeli and West Bank buses crossed into Jordan, and Jordanian buses crossed to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, over the Allenby Bridge.
GV View from bridge over Jordan River
GV People standing on bridge
MV Jordanian buses over bridge into West Bank
MV Man painting new barrier blue & white
CU Israel flag TILT DOWN TO MV Jordanian bus
CU Israeli number plate on bus
GV People at checkpoint
SCU & MV People on bus TILT DOWN TO blue number plate on West Bank bus (3 shots)
GV PAN & CU Jordanian bus arriving at checkpoint (3 shots)
GV & SV West Bank bus being leaded (2 shots)
GV People at checkpoint
GV West Bank bus leaving
Initials SGM/1311 SGM/1259
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Background: A small step towards easing the travel restrictions between Israel and Jordan was taken on Thursday, when Israeli and West Bank buses crossed into Jordan, and Jordanian buses crossed to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, over the Allenby Bridge.
The buses did not get very far - just as far as the respective customs areas about a mile (2 km) back from each side of the bridge. But the move brought to an end the four-year-old ritual in which passengers had to descend from their buses and cross on foot, while their baggage changed hands between porters at the middle of the bridge.
It's the latest in a series of small developments pointing the way towards a normalisation of border arrangements. Two weeks ago, the first foreign tourists were allowed to cross the bridge into Jordan; and recently Israeli and Jordanian officers stood to attention at the bridge as the body of a former Jordanian Prime Minister, General Mohammed Daoud, was taken to Jerusalem for burial.
SYNOPSIS: The Allenby Bridge, which cresses the river between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been opened to buses from both sides for the first time since the war four years ago. First to cross the river was a Jordanian bus bringing people to visit relatives in the occupied West Bank.
Soon afterwards, a bus showing the orange Israeli licence plates was ready to cross to the Jordanian side. It was followed by another bus travelling east, this time showing the blue licence-plates of the occupied West Bank. None of the buses get very far just as far as the customs areas set back a mile on each side. It's a small step towards normalisation of border relations across the River Jordan. It replaces a four-year-old ritual in which passengers had to leave their buses and walk across the bridge, and their luggage had to be passed from porter to porter at the half-way mark.