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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Did Israel cave to Mubarak?

One reason Israel may have adopted a unilateral cease fire tonight was this speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday.
"I ask Israel today to end its military operations immediately," Mubarak said in an address on state television of the 22-day-old war which has killed more than 1,200 Palestinians and left much of Gaza in ruins.

"I call on its leadership for an immediate unconditional ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Strip," he said, as the Israeli security cabinet prepared to consider halting its offensive.


Mubarak called in his speech on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "heed reason and conscience" to end the bloodshed in Gaza.

Mubarak insisted that Egypt was securing its border with the Gaza Strip, and Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said his country would not be bound by a just-inked US-Israeli deal to stop arms smuggling to Gaza.

"Egypt, in its efforts to stop the aggression, is working on securing its borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip and it will never accept the presence of foreign observers on its territory," Mubarak said.

"I say that is a red line we will not allow to be crossed," he added.

Egypt "is absolutely not bound by this agreement," on halting arms smuggling through tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, Abul Gheit told reporters.

The Egyptian foreign minister also said that Israel was the main obstacle to Egyptian efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza. "Israel is drunk with power and violence," he said.

The US-Israel deal was signed on Friday in Washington by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni but details of the accord were not disclosed by Washington.

Egypt has repeatedly denied that arms have been smuggled into Gaza through a network of tunnels linking Egypt to the impoverished Palestinian enclave, saying the arms came by sea.
As my readers will recall, Mubarak is a liar.
On Tuesday, I reported that the IDF had sent videos to Congress that show Egyptian troops helping Hamas to smuggle import weapons and ammunition into Gaza. The goal was to convince Congress to slash Egypt's massive foreign aid (third behind Iraq's and Israel's) unless they stop assisting crack down on the smuggling.

Someone at the leftist foreign ministry has decided that would hurt poor Papa Mubarak's feelings. And so, they have prevented those videos from ever making it to the halls of Congress. If any of you has access to any members of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs or Appropriations Committees - especially the subcommittees that deal with the foreign aid budget, please forward this post to them:
Despite efforts by the country's top security echelon to share with Congress videotapes of Egypt assisting Hamas in arms smuggling, the footage has been shown only to some administration officials and never made it to Congress, to avoid infuriating the Egyptians, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The videotapes included footage of Egyptian border policemen allegedly assisting a group of close to 80 Hamas terrorists crossing illegally into Gaza through a hole they had cut in the border fence.

Defense officials said there was also evidence that the Egyptians were assisting Hamas with smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip under the Philadelphi Corridor.

The decision to send the tapes to the Israeli Embassy in Washington was made by Israel's top defense echelon to influence the appropriations process in Congress ahead of a decision to withhold part of the foreign aid granted to Egypt.

That the tape was not shown to Congress reflects a desire by Israel's political and diplomatic echelon not to escalate tension with Cairo by becoming directly involved in lobbying against Egypt in Congress.
In Friday's JPost, David Horovitz discussed those videos and what they showed.
The Post was told that the tape was being sent to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and we reported this. The security establishment's intention and expectation was that the tape would be made available on Capitol Hill. The aim was to encourage Congress to use the leverage of US financial aid to Egypt to press for more effective controls.

In the previous four months alone, according to information then compiled by the IDF, more than 100 tons of explosives had been smuggled into the Strip, as well as 20,000 rifles, 6,000 anti-tank missiles and immense supplies of ammunition. Only days earlier, Israel had also filed an official complaint with Cairo for unilaterally opening the Rafah crossing - ostensibly for Palestinians travelling to the Haj. In fact, Israel charged, this freedom of access was abused by a significant number of Hamas personnel to travel to Lebanon and Iran for military training.

Egypt ridiculed the IDF's arms smuggling figures.

"To get those quantities [of weaponry] into Gaza," scoffed an Egyptian official at the time, "you would need to have a tunnel every 10 meters."

Despite the extraordinary gravity of the arms smuggling, and despite the most senior defense echelon's profound interest in alerting US legislators to the danger in the hope of prompting economic pressure on Cairo, the security establishment's videotape was not, in fact, swiftly made available in Washington.

Reading the Post's report on the tape, several US legislators contacted Israeli diplomats to ask why they hadn't received it. In response, in some cases, they were told that there was no such tape, and that the Post's story was untrue.

In fact, as the Post then established, the tape was shown only to some US administration officials and not made available to Congress because Israel's political and diplomatic leaders decided it did not want to infuriate the Egyptians by distributing it more widely.

A senior defense official had noted to the Post that "if key congressmen and senators see this, then it will provide a clear picture of the situation and ensure that [part of] the [US military aid] money is withheld. When this happens, [Egypt's President Hosni] Mubarak will feel that he has no choice but to stop the smuggling."

The political-diplomatic echelon thought differently. As we reported, "The perception that won the day this time was that over-involvement would be seen by Cairo as an infringement of certain diplomatic 'rules' between the two countries and could lead to a major crisis."
If Saturday night's announcement was a concession to Egyptian sensibilities, Israel has once again made a grave mistake.
Over the past three weeks, the IDF has carried out repeated bombing attacks on the tunnel network beneath the Philadelphi Corridor, destroying dozens upon dozens of smuggling routes. But the challenge is considerable. It is estimated that no fewer than 300 tunnels were operating at the start of Operation Cast Lead, many of them coming up to air inside Palestinian homes that had encroached ever closer to the border. This weekend, IDF sources said many of the tunnels were still operating, and that Hamas was still able to import further weaponry even as the fighting raged.

Quite unrepentant, Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit twice this week dismissed Israeli complaints about the tunnels. As far as he knew, only food and other essential supplies were being spirited into the Israeli-blockaded Strip. How, he asked aloud, could Egypt intervene to stop such essential supplies reaching the Palestinian people?

Arms were reaching Hamas, Aboul Gheit allowed, but from the sea, where it was Israel's responsibility to intercept them.
Does anyone really believe that? But Horovitz points out that it's not just the incumbent Israeli government that didn't want to go further with this operation.
The government has hesitated and ultimately seems disinclined to order a greatly escalated "Phase Three" ground offensive. Key figures in the Likud opposition, including party leader Binyamin Netanyahu and the would-be defense minister Moshe Ya'alon, strikingly, are not pushing for "Phase Three" either.
Israel made a mistake tonight on a par with the disastrous UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to which it agreed two and a half years ago. And if it installs a UNIFIL-like force in Gaza, it will just be inviting the next, worst war.

By the way, read the whole thing.


At 2:44 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There will be another war. And Israel's politicians will have no one but themselves to blame for creating the conditions that will bring it about. After all, the Israeli public did not demand an end to the war. Israel's politicians did end it in spite of what the people wanted.

At 2:51 AM, Blogger Outrider said...

Every time Israel caves in to external pressures, she regrets it. This time will be no different. As Norman said, the Israeli people (94% as of Saturday) want this conflict to run its course to a successful completion.

If Egypt can not or will not deal with these smugglers tunnels,than Israel must. Let us not forget, the last "truce" was Egyptian brokered and we all saw how that worked out.

At 2:57 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Outrider, Carl will tell you in the morning that Hamas has violated it six ways to daybreak. If someone asked them to stop shooting at Israel, they didn't get the message.

At 2:59 AM, Blogger ledger said...

Carl, the democrats control the congress. They dislike Jews.

The Democrats control the Senate. They dislike Jews.

Bush has given his farewell speech and he is out. Democrat Obama is in the White House. Obama dislikes Jews and will negotiate with Hamas.

You and your country are now on your own. You are in a fight for your very survival.

At 3:05 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

And Israel's leaders are more afraid of offending the new U.S administration than they are determined to defeat Israel's enemies. That says it all.

At 4:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And if it installs a UNIFIL-like force in Gaza, it will just be inviting the next, worst war." Hamas leaders already said a few days ago they will not allow any foreign troops on Gazan soil to patrol the border.

At 4:58 AM, Blogger Reliapundit said...


this buys the idf two years of calm as it relates to gaza - just as the hizballah war bought two yeasr of calm from hizballah.

the idf will use this time to prepare to attack iran in 2011 - when us troops will be out if iraq.

At 6:08 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The calm could have been bought by decisively vanquishing Hamas. How does leaving them in place safeguard Israel?

In all of this tragicomedy of errors, the one piece of good news is the IDF was not compelled by the Three Stooges to restore Fatah to power in Gaza.


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