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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Benny Morris declares the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty dead

The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is collapsing. Benny Morris says it's dead.
The fact is that following the fall of Mubarak, Egyptian rule in the Sinai Peninsula has disintegrated. Egyptians seemingly no longer assiduously block clandestine Iranian shipments of arms into the Gaza Strip through the tunnel system, and the native beduin tribes of the peninsula, traditional smugglers of goods and people (mainly drugs and illegal emigrants from Sudan and Eritrea) into Israel, have prospered. A largely destitute Sudanese-Eritrean community now populates a part of southern Tel Aviv, where it is a source of crime and social unrest.

But more directly threatening to Israel has been the upsurge in Sinai in direct anti-Israeli activities by Islamist and Palestinian groups, some of them backed by Iran, such as the repeated sabotage during the past few months of the pipeline running the length of the peninsula through which Egypt exported gas to Israel (this gas constituted some 50 percent of the fuel that ran the turbines that supply Israel's electrcity grid. The gas disruption, which the Egyptian government has been unable or unwilling to halt, has meant that Israel has suffered economically and has had to access alternative supplies of gas and coal from elsewhere. One of the charges against Mubarak in the ongoing Cairo trial of the ex-dictator and his family and cronies is that they benefited financially from the gas deals). The interim Egyptian military regime has been extremely sensitive to Israeli criticism of its loss of control in Sinai.

Then came the Thursday attack in which the Palestinian gunmen made their way from Gaza through the Rafah-area tunnels into Sinai and then traveled south, ultimately crossing into Israel just north of Eilat, the Egyptian military in the area aware of what was happening and doing nothing to halt the terrorists. Israel suspects that the Egyptian soldiers may have helped the gunmen, either out of sympathy or for financial gain. Some Israeli survivors of the attack said that the terrorists were dressed in Egyptian army fatigues.

The irony is that a few days earlier, Israel had allowed the Egyptians—by mutual agreement breaching the Sinai demilitarization clause of the peace treaty—to send into Sinai three battalions of troops, with armored personnel carriers, to help restore Egyptian sovereignty and to curb the bedouin and Palestinian militancy. But the Egyptians, as had happened with the gas pipeline, either lacked the will or the competence, and the Resistance Committees' raid went on effectively and, apparently, on schedule.
Here's the key: If Morris is right, the treaty is dead, and not because either side wanted to kill it, but because the Egyptians are no longer capable of implementing it. That ought to do wonders for the prospect of future treaties.

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At 3:18 AM, Blogger effyourself said...

This would be the same problem if we were ever able to come to a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Even IF they wanted to make peace, they wouldn't be able to enforce it.

At 6:20 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel is being asked to surrender strategically vital land to dictators whose word is good as long as they are alive. What is this means is the land for peace school is dead. Israel cannot place its survival in the hands of an Arab regime that can literally disappear overnight.


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