Israel returned Mount Sinai to Egypt on Thursday (15 November), fulfilling another agreement under the peace treaty between the two countries.
Israel returned Mount Sinai to Egypt on Thursday (15 November), fulfilling another agreement under the peace treaty between the two countries. The area of the Sinai Peninsula encloses the mountain, which is accepted by Jews, Christians and Moslems as the site of the biblical revelation of the ten commandments to Moses. It was not due to be handed over for another two months, but the gesture is to enable President Sadat to keep his promise to pray on the mountain for the anniversary of his visit to Israel two years ago.
SYNOPSIS: The Israeli flag was ceremoniously lowered after Israeli and Egyptian soldiers had mingled freely exchanging greetings.
Of the four Sinai handovers under the peace agreement, this was the most emotionally significant.
The nine hundred and sixty-five square-mile (2357.293 square kms) section of land returned on Thursday includes the biblical Mount Sinai. Nestled at the foot of the holy mountain is Saint Catherine's monastery, a spare and beautiful building that dates back to the fifth century.
Saint Catherine's is currently run by the Greek Orthodox Church, but it has had many administrators over the years. President Sadat has pledged that both Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine's will remain forever open to people of all religions.
On Monday, President Sadat will pray on the mountain and lay a foundation stone for a tri-religious complex.