Egypt-Israel Meetings Underpinned by Spirit of Division
Egypt rejected Israeli accusations that it has not done enough to stop smuggling across the Egyptian border. Almost half a billion dollars’ worth of equipment is smuggled over the border each year, according to Arutz Sheva.
The tunnels are a huge thorn in the Israelis’ side. Earlier this week, Arutz Sheva wrote, “[W]hile the 150 tunnels bring in a total of some $150 million annually, the value of men, weapons and other merchandise smuggled in each year total more than three times that amount—close to a half-billion dollars.”
According to Maj. Gen. (res.) Yom Tov Samia, the former Israel Defense Forces Southern Command chief,
The Palestinians have brought into Gaza more than 30,000 rifles during the past two years, more than 6 million rounds of ammunition, more than 230 tons of explosives, and scores of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. These are the weapons Israel will face next time. The next round in Gaza will look more like Lebanon than what Israel faced in Operation Defensive Shield in Judea and Samaria in 2002, or in previous rounds in Gaza.
The equipment smuggled through these tunnels is being used against Israel right now. Under a 2005 agreement, Egypt promised to have a 750-man border patrol in the area. The Egyptian border force, however, has been more of a help to the smugglers than a hindrance. Israel gave U.S. officials videotapes showing Egyptian police officers helping weapons smugglers across the border! The problem is so bad that even Palestinians have expressed concern.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tizipi Livni raised the above issue with Egypt this week. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s response: “It is better for the Israeli minister to concentrate on negotiation efforts with the Palestinians, instead of speaking randomly about issues she should not be dealing with if she is not fully aware of the situation.”
Despite the extreme importance of the matter to Israel’s national security, and Egypt’s promise a couple of years ago, Egypt simply tells Israel to shut up and leave the problem alone!
Egypt is sliding toward Islamo-fascism. As we wrote last week, “If the ‘moderate’ Mubarak government is prepared to improve ties with the Jew-hating government of [Iranian] President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, how much more eager will an Islamist administration in Egypt be to jump in bed with Iran?”
A spirit of division exists between Egypt and Israel; Egypt is already working with Israel’s enemies. This problem is about to get a lot worse, however, as Egypt gets closer to Iran. For more information, see last week’s article “Egypt and Israel: the Geographic Reality.”