Egyptian PM: Peace With Israel “Not Sacred”

From the Jerusalem Post:

Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said a peace deal with Israel was not “sacred” and could be changed for the benefit of peace or the region.

His comments, made in an interview with a Turkish television channel and broadcast on state television, were the strongest yet by the new government which took over after president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

“The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and the case of fair peace … and we could make a change if needed,” he said in the interview…

My suggestion to Israel is that they re-open the “discussion” of peace by pushing the Egyptians out of the Sinai.  When you’ve got them by the privates, it is said, hearts and minds will follow…the Suez Canal is one of Egypt’s few money-makers and Israeli control of it might remind Egypt’s government of just why the Sadat regime sought a peace treaty in 1979.

Israel is in her most difficult position since just prior to the 1967 war – rising Islamism; Turkish hostility (it looks as though the Turks are asserting themselves for the Palestinians in order to forestall Iranian efforts…but, no matter, it still works out bad for Israel); threat of Iranian nukes…and a US government which actually believes that Israeli/American actions are the cause of the conflict (instead of it really being nothing more than a manufactured issue by Islamic leaders who want a short cut to personal power and wealth…and scapegoating Jews is just easy).  Israel had to both tread carefully but at the same time be willing to act with lightening speed to disrupt the Islamists.

Right now, those Islamsits are looking forward to re-starting the war with Israel – confronting Israel with massive terrorist attacks from the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and southern Lebanon.  Israel, caught between four fires, will be terribly vulnerable.  Better if one or more of the fires could be put out before it gets started.  As Israeli re-occupation of the West Bank is impractical (ties down too many Israeli units in occupation duty), the logical place to strike is in the Sinai…minimal Egyptian civil popualtion to control, it cuts off Gaza (thus putting that fire out) and would allow the IDF to concentrate on south Lebanon and the West bank with their southern and western fronts secure.

The worst thing Israel can do is just hunker down – MacArthur was once asked his formula for defensive war.  His answer?  “Defeat”.  Sitting there and waiting for the terrorists to strike won’t help…better a spoiling attack against them, throwing their plane in to confusion and allowing Israel a breathing space until a new American government comes to power…hopefully one with a more realistic understanding of the Islamists.

Islamist Mob Breaks in to Israeli Embassy

From the AP:

Protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Friday and dumped documents out of the windows as hundreds more demonstrated outside, prompting the ambassador and his family to leave the country. The unrest was a further worsening of already deteriorating ties between Israel and post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt.

Egyptian police made no attempt to intervene during the day as crowds of hundreds tore down an embassy security wall with sledgehammers and their bare hands or after nightfall when about 30 protesters stormed into the Nile-side high-rise building where the embassy is located…

This is the end of the peace treaty – the Egyptian government either will not or cannot enforce the terms, which would include the security of the Israeli embassy in Cairo.  What form of government will finally emerge in Egypt remains unknown…but until that government does emerge and indicates its policies, no reliance can be placed on agreements made under the Sadat/Mubarak regime.  A new peace treaty will have to made – and only if the new Egyptian government indicates a willingness to have true peace with Israel.

The ultimate lesson here is to place no reliance on deals with  tyrants – Sadat was, indeed, a great and wise man…but he was a tyrant, and his successor was a tyrant, and only as long as the tyranny remained in power would any agreement be honored.  Tyrant gone, so is deal…better to have never made the deal, as if there hadn’t been a peace treaty Israel would be on the Suez, not worrying about attacks from the Sinai in to southern Israel.

Back to square one in the middle east…except now there is an even more virulent spirit abroad in the Muslim world.

Israeli-Egyptian Tensions Rise

From Y-Net:

Large Egyptian army forces are battling Jihad operatives in the Sinai Peninsula Tuesday as Israel maintains its heightened alert on the tense southern border with Egypt.

Israel upped its military presence along the border, including the deployment of two navy war ships, following a terror warning that had been received indicating that a cell comprising of 10 operatives was in Sinai and was planning to attack Israeli targets. Earlier this month, terrorists killed eight Israelis after infiltrating the border from Sinai…

The peace treaty limits the number of soldiers Egypt can maintain in the Sinai – it must be remember that the Sinai provides Israel with strategic depth vis a vis Egypt (and, of course, Egypt vis a vis Israel).  For Israel’s security, the Sinai must either be Israeli, or it must be demilitarized so that in event of war, the IDF can swiftly seize all or most of it, thus protecting southern Israel.  The Egyptian troops being sent to the Sinai are going with Israeli consent…with Israel, I guess, hoping that the Egyptian army will curb the actions of the terrorists.

It is to be hoped this will work out – but I doubt the reliability of the Egyptian army as an anti-terrorist force.  Will the Egyptian army really go to work with a will against the terrorists?  Or will it make a few spectacular raids while tacitly allowing the terrorists to maintain their forces and launch attacks on Israel?  Time will tell – though Israel would at this point have been better off if they had never bargained land for peace in 1979.  Now that Egypt risks becoming Islamist, the Israelis will come to regret they gave up their excellent defensive positions along the Suez Canal.

Facing the Truth About Egypt

Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) says cut off Egypt if peace is threatened – from the Jerusalem Post:

Washington’s $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt will be cut off if Cairo backs out of the peace treaty with Israel, Congresswoman Kay Granger – whose job as chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee means she literally writes America’s annual foreign aid bill – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“The United States aid to Egypt is predicated on the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and so the relationship between Egypt and Israel is extremely important,” the eight-term Republican from Texas said in an interview…

This is only sensible – in order to secure peace between Israel and Egypt, the United States and Israel went about 100 extra miles to secure Egypt’s agreement.  It must be remember that Egypt was the clear loser in two wars of aggression launched against Israel.

As a result of those two wars, Israel had gained and retained firm control of the Sinai…and could easily have pressed far beyond the Suez Canal at will.  Israel was under no moral or legal requirement to return a square inch of formerly Egyptian territory…heck, Germany has more claim to East Prussia these days than Egypt had to the Sinai after the Yom Kippur War.  But Israel sincerely wanted (and still wants), peace.  It seemed not too great a price to free Israel from the renewed threat of war with Egypt…and so Israel agreed to surrender to the losers in the matter of the Sinai.

For the United States, it was a matter that Egypt had played a huge role in messing up the Middle East, forcing the United States to expend vast amounts of time and resources fixing what Egypt had broken.  But we also wanted peace between Israel and Egypt – and so we figured a relatively endless number of billions of dollars was worth it.  In the end, what Egypt – the aggressor/loser – got was all that Egypt had justly lost, plus a massive, monetary bribe from us to make peace.  And so peace was made – but the price of peace on Egypt’s part is to not in any way, shape or form threaten Israel.

Right now, that is shifting…and if the Moslem Brotherhood gains even partial power in Egypt in the upcoming elections, then that shift will become more pronounced.  The price Egypt must pay for breaking the terms of the peace treaty is to lose the bribe we offered…and we’ll leave it up to Israel if they want to take back Israeli territory in the Sinai (and I think they should – forthwith, before the new Egyptian government gets organized and, perhaps, moves major military forces in to the Sinai).  A deal is a deal, and the Egyptians are breaking it…and I don’t have any concern at all about why Egypt might be doing this.  It is immaterial…there can be no justification, and so all deals are off.  The Egyptians must be instructed that the losers can make no demands…and can’t ever change the terms.

It is high time we learned that you can’t play around with things like this – watching and waiting and hoping things will come out right just doesn’t work.  The graves of Egyptians and Israelis are already being dug due to Egyptian actions…the quicker things are resolved, the fewer there will be.  It is a matter of acting forcefully in the near term in order to cut off a catastrophe in the long term.

The Crisis Between Egypt and Israel

Getting a little hotter while diplomats scurry – from the New York Times:

Diplomats scrambled to avert a crisis in relations between Egypt and Israel on Saturday, and the Israeli government issued a rare statement of regret for the killing of three Egyptian security officers by an Israeli warplane.

Tensions between the two countries, which on Saturday led Egypt to announce that it would recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv, reached the worst point since the Camp David peace accords three decades ago, spurred by a burst of violence along their shared border in the Sinai Peninsula. A series of attacks there killed eight Israelis on Thursday; the Israeli government then retaliated against Gaza-based militants, and the three Egyptians died in the crossfire…

My question: were the security officers in Gaza?  If so, why?  If they were, then it is yet another indication that at least elements of the Egyptian government are fomenting war between Egypt and Israel.  That is really the crucial issue…not who killed whom, but why certain people did certain actions.

Naturally, the diplomats will miss this – their whole desire will be just to paper over the cracks and essentially pretend that nothing happened.  But something has happened…and it is a disturbing development in that Egypt may be in the process of breaking the peace treaty.

The best course of action right now is an assertive stance by Israel – a refusal to allow things to slowly disintegrate.  Put the Egyptians on the spot – do they want peace, or do they want war?  Either all attacks from Gaza cease, or not.  That is the price of real peace between Egypt and Israel at this moment – anything less than that means war, even if conventional battles are put off for months or years.

The Necessity of Pushing Egypt Back in the Sinai

The attack in to Israel which came by way of Gaza terrorists infiltrating from the Sinai indicates the true state of affairs in Egypt – a significant part of Egyptian authority is willing to aid terrorist attacks against Israel.  This new fact by itself nullifies the Israel-Egypt peace treaty – we’re essentially back to 1967.

The proper response by the Israelis would be to push the Egyptians back from the Gaza and Israeli borders – at least 25 miles so as to put southern Israel out of easy rocket/terrorist range.  This would also allow a complete sealing off of Gaza and that would eventually result in the terrorists in Gaza running out of ammunition.

Remember, the Israelis gave up the Sinai in order to have peace with Egypt – unless the southern border of Israel is 100% secure against attack, there is no reason for Israel to stay out of the Sinai.  And it is better to act now than wait for the Egyptian government to move major military forces in to the area.