After being closed for a year due to the new Corona virus pandemic, Israel announced, Monday, March 22, 2021, new controls to reopen the Taba crossing with Egypt, according to Israeli media.
As the new controls included the obligation to submit a PCR test 72 hours before returning to Israel (hospitals in Sharm El Sheikh or Nuweiba in Egypt at a cost of $ 35), as well as subjecting the returnees to another test upon entering Israel, according to the same source, provided that 40 people pass through the crossing per hour. That is, 320 per day, without specifying whether this is in both directions or for returnees to Israel.
The private Israeli Channel (12) said that discussions took place, Monday, between the Israeli ministries of tourism, the interior and health, and two deadlines were set for the reopening of the border crossing with the Egyptian Sinai.
While the Ministry of Tourism has pushed for the reopening of the crossing – if the Egyptian authorities agree – next Thursday, just before the Jewish Passover holiday (which begins on Friday evening and lasts for a week), which was celebrated by thousands of Israelis in Sinai during the years before Corona.
While the Ministry of Health seeks to postpone the date until after Easter, specifically to April 4, 2021, in order to prevent overcrowding, and to impose measures that allow only those who have received the vaccination to cross to Sinai.
Whether the crossing is opened on one of the two dates, there are procedures that have been agreed upon, including reducing the working days at the crossing to 5 days a week and 8 hours a day, and not allowing the passage of private cars.
Until Monday evening, there was no official statement from the two sides (Egyptian and Israeli) regarding the matter.
Egyptian activists angry
The marking is referred to as “Egypt receives IsraelA few days ago, the list of the most frequently used hashtags (Trend) in Egypt was issued, after Israel announced the approval of forming a ministerial committee to draw up a plan to allow Israelis to travel to and from the Sinai through the Taba border crossing.
Egyptian singers expressed their rejection of all forms of normalization, their rejection of fully opening the Egyptian economy to the Israeli economy, as well as their anger at the Israeli presence in Sinai.
This step came after the Tel Aviv government approved, on Thursday, March 12, 2021, the formation of a special team working on preparing a plan to open the border crossing to the Sinai Peninsula this week.
“Egypt does everything to bring Israeli tourists”
It should be noted that the Israeli Minister of Intelligence, Eli Cohen, stated during his recent visit to Cairo that “intelligence officials in the two countries are working to secure the tourist city of Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai to allow it to be opened to Israeli tourists,” stressing that Egypt “is doing everything to bring tourists The Israelis as they did in the past. “
These statements came after Cohen returned to Tel Aviv a few days ago after a two-day visit to Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh, during which he headed a joint Israeli mission to the Ministry of Intelligence, in addition to 20 businessmen and managers in the sectors of economy, food, construction, water, tourism, agriculture, electricity, and gas. And others.
Israel had closed the Taba crossing since March 2020, with the aim of curbing the spread of the Coronavirus, but it was opened from time to time to allow the entry of Israelis.
It is worth noting that in 2019 the crossing registered the passage of about half a million Israelis to Sinai, an increase of 30% over 2018, while the number of Israelis who passed in 2020 before the crossing was closed reached 34,000, according to Haaretz newspaper.