Thursday, November 24, 2011

Israel Prepares to Send “Large Force” to Egyptian Border

United Press International (UPI) reported on Thursday that Israel was preparing to send a “large force” of soldiers and armor to the Egyptian border, quoting Israeli Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai as saying the relationship between the two countries will not remain “the same as it was in the past.”

An Israeli tank in a West Bank military camp (Lo Yuk Fai, PNN).
Vilnai, a former Major General of the Israeli army, told Israeli military radio on Thursday, “In light of the border situation with Egypt, the Israeli army is preparing a very large deployment to block the movement of individuals [across the border].”

“It’s hard to imagine relations [between Egypt and Israel] remaining as they were in the past,” said Vilnai.

Most analysts expect the Muslim Brotherhood party to win out in Egypt’s elections, the first held after the departure of Hosni Mubarak but expected to be delayed because of anti-military regime protests in Cairo and ensuing state violence. Israel’s relations with the Brotherhood are not expected to be favorable, with PM Benjamin Netanyahu calling the group’s popularity part of an “Islamic, anti-western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli, and anti-democratic” trend of the Arab Spring.

Instead, Vilnai said the Israeli government was putting its hopes in the Egyptian military regime, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), to bring stability to the country. The resignation of the SCAF leader, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, has been a central demand of recent protests.

"Tantawi is trying to avoid chaos and transfer power in the mostly orderly way possible,” Vilnai said.“We hope that he will succeed. Otherwise we will see general chaos and that will be very bad for Egypt.”

The 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is not expected to be an immediate casualty of any potential souring of the relationship, but certain terms of the treaty—such as the prohibition of Egyptian armed forces in the Sinai peninsula—are unpopular with Egyptians and will likely be revisited.

PNN - Palestine News Network