Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Israel Tells Egypt To Remove Sinai Military Buildup, Claims Violation Of Peace Treaty
Israel has told Egypt that Israel wants the removal of Egypt's tanks and aircraft from the Sinai Peninsula because their continued presence violates the 1979 peace agreement between the two countries.
According to that treaty, the Sinai was supposed to remain demilitarized by both sides as a buffer.
The message from the Israeli government was sent via the White House, because of the severely weakened relationship between the two countries since the Muslim Brotherhood takeover. The White House is also thought to have leverage with the Egyptians because of the vital $1.3 billion per year the U.S. supplies Egypt with in military aid.
In spite of the message from the U.S.,so far the Egyptian government is claiming publicly it has not received any communication from the Israelis. Israeli officials say they have made their objections known to the Egyptians directly.
Earlier this month, the Israelis agreed to an Egyptian troop buildup in the Sinai for basic security purposes after an attack by al-Qaeda linked terrorists at the beginning of August on an Egyptian border post, which left 16 border guards dead.
That incident ended after the terrorists commandeered an armored vehicle and crashed it through the border into Israel, where it was intercepted by Israeli forces.
However, the Egyptians have continued their military buildup in Sinai far beyond what was originally agreed to, without coordinating it with Israel.
The 'modification' (read 'scrapping') of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty has been a goal frequently expressed by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the current President Mohammed Morsi.
The Israelis are concerned that the earlier raid is being used by Egypt as an excuse to re-militarize the Sinai.Even during the Mubarak regime, the Egyptian military has always conducted its war games exercises with Israel as its presumed enemy.
The current buildup includes anti-aircraft missiles and launchers that are obviously not intended to fight terrorists in the Sinai.
Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman was quite explicit on the matter:
"We have to be insistent with the Egyptians and be strict about crossing every last 't,' because otherwise we will be on a slippery slope with regards to everything related to the peace agreement," Lieberman said.
It will be interesting to see how the Egyptians respond to this. My guess is they won't, and will continue the military build up in Sinai.
A final remark in passing for those who still swallow the 'land for peace' nonsense...in this part of the world, only losers give up territory.
Israel's ceding the Sinai to Egypt in 1979 was looked at in exactly that way by the Egyptians. It was seen as proof of what the Egyptian government told their people after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and continue to tell them - that it was Egypt, not Israel that had won the war.