After Egypt has dispatched tanks into the northern Sinai area over the past few weeks, as part of its attempt to combat Islamist terror cells in the peninsula, the Prime Minister’s office has decided that this must stop. Using the White House, Netanyahu sent a sharp message to Cairo to withdraw the tanks immediately.
Israel also requested that Egypt refrain from further dispatching military forces to the area without prior coordination, as this is a breach of the peace agreement between the two nations.
American intervention was called upon after the closely aligned military and security coordination between the two countries was recently compromised. The United States has strong influence on Egypt – mainly because of the vast military support that it provides that country every year – upwards of $1.3 billion.
Yesterday, a senior Israeli source confirmed: “Israel is worried about the tanks in northern Sinai. This is an outright breach of the peace agreement.”
One of Israel’s suspicions is that Egypt would not take action to recapture security controls over the Sinai, and that its actions against the terror cells would remain on a limited scope.
Another suspicion is that Egypt would take advantage of the deviations from the peace agreement in order allow the armed forces to remain in the Sinai for an unlimited time, thus altering the agreement de facto.