One of the key issues proposed in the Camp David agreements concerns the future of Sharm El Sheikh, the strategically vital coastal town on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.
One of the key issues proposed in the Camp David agreements concerns the future of Sharm El Sheikh, the strategically vital coastal town on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Under the agreement, the town which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, would be returned to the Egyptians.
SYNOPSIS: The town, only eight hours drive from Jerusalem, came into prominence in the days before the 1967 war. When President Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, which prevented Israeli access to their southern port of Elat, it was the Egyptian guns at Sharm El Sheikh that made the blockade possible. It therefore became a prime target for the Israelis, and one of their first conquests. Since then, the small town has been steadily developed by the Israelis, who have established a naval base there. With the construction of a luxury hotel, they have made it a world famous centre for subaqua divers.
Under the Camp David agreement there are special provisions to protect Israel's southern sea approaches. The town's airfield would be for civilian use only, a United Nations force would be stationed nearby to ensure freedom of shipping, and the Straits of Tiran would become an international waterway. The future of Sharm El Sheikh will be among the first details to be settled in the peace talks beginning in Washington on Thursday (12 October).