Great Britain wanted to change the border with the Ottoman Empire, under strong German influence, to push the Ottomans further from the Suez Canal. In 1892, the Turks agreed to allow Egyptian guard stations near the Gulf of Eilat. In April of 1906, the Turks were pressed to set the border between Aqaba and Rafah. They proposed a compromise at El Arish but finally gave in to British pressure. The firm stand of the commander of the Turkish police station at Um Rashrash (today, Eilat) changed the border from Aqaba to Taba, now the agreed frontier of Israel and Egypt.
Israel, in the southwestern corner of Asia and the southeast shore of the Mediterranean sea, has a population of over 9 million and a total area of just over 20,000 square kilometers (slightly more than 8000 square miles), ranks 150th among nations in geographical size and 99th in population size. Its population is 80% Jewish and 20% Muslim.