FILE - Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin shake hands as Jimmy Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin greet each for their first meeting at the Camp David Summit as Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter watch, 1978 - Courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library - Handout Via Reuters
CAIRO – 19 March 2019: March 19 marks a powerful moment in the history of Modern Egypt, as the Egyptian sovereignty over Taba, South Sinai was announced restored from Israel.
Despite its small area, Taba’s return to Egypt remains a pivotal point in Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak raised the Egyptian flag on Taba on March 19, 1989, declaring the return of the town to Egypt.
FILE - Egyptian President Anwar Sadat acknowledges applause during a Joint Session of Congress in which President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords - Library of Congress - Warren K. Leffler/Handout Via Reuters
Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat have a discussion the next day on the Aspen patio - Courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library - Handout Via Reuters
Reuters published some photos for the Camp David accords between Egyptian late President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister at the time Menachem Begin in Washington, upon an invitation by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
The 13-day negotiations later produced two accords including a framework for peace in the Middle East, and another framework for the conclusion of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel; the latter was signed on March 26, 1979, paving the way for the first peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
When the Israeli and Egyptian governments finalized the negotiations for the return of the entire Sinai Peninsula to Egypt on January 19, 1982, according to the first treaty of peace between Israel and Egypt, the former tried to prevaricate to change the situation on the ground.
A meeting at Camp David with (l-r) Aharon Barak, Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat, and Ezer Weizmann,1978 - Courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library - Handout Via Reuters
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledge applause during a Joint Session of Congress in which President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords - Warren K. Leffler
Israeli negotiators claimed that Taba should remain with Israel. They justified their claim by saying that the description of Taba as the administrative border between Palestine and Egypt in October 1906 accord was ambiguous and did not clearly state if Taba falls within Egypt or Palestine. Israel even took a further step to enforce a de facto situation by constructing two Israeli hotels within Taba after spring 1982.
President Anwar Sadat and his wife, Jihan Sadat, accompanied by Jimmy Carter and his wife and Israeli Prime Minister Begin and his wife - Courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library - Handout Via Reuters
According to article 7 of the 1979 peace treaty, any side can resort to international mediation if direct negotiations fail to resolve such differences. Therefore, Egypt requested the formation of an international arbitration team, a request which the Israeli cabinet did not agree to until January 13, 1986.
Hence, a panel was formed and empowered to decide on the location of the boundary pillars as of 1948, the date when the Palestine Mandate ended, and it was agreed on by all sides that the panel’s decision would be final and binding to both parties.
Two years later in 1988, being presented by strong evidence from the Egyptian side, the panel ruled in favor of Egypt and Israel was forced to evacuate Taba on March 19, 1989, ending nearly 15 years of Israeli control over the peninsula since 1967. Taba became the last part of Egyptian lands to be liberated from Israel.
Signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty with Sadat, Jimmy Carter, and Begin - Handout Via Reuters
Additional reporting by Fatma al-Wahaidy, Amr Kandil
Reuters contributed to the reporting