Egypt Asks Israel to Control Gaza Border

(Jerusalem Post) Yosef Goell - Egypt has confidentially asked Israel to retain its military presence in the narrow Philadelphia corridor of southern Gaza when - and if - settlements are relocated, according to Israel TV Channel 1 Friday. The request was reportedly made by the head of Egyptian intelligence to his counterpart in the Mossad. During the years Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip, from 1948 to 1967, they ran the area as occupied military territory. Egypt kept the Palestinian population hermetically sealed in their ghetto and refused them entry into Egypt. No Arab or international voices were raised against that brutal occupation. In light of reports of President Hosni Mubarak's dodgy health, a bloody succession fight may not be far off and there is a possibility Palestinian Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad terrorists could infiltrate from Gaza into Egypt and tip the balance in favor of radical Islamic forces inside Egypt. It is essential the Americans be keenly sensitized to the implications of any withdrawal on the fate of their closest Arab allies in the region. Israel should respond favorably to the Egyptian request (which Egypt would never publicly admit). But it should do so on condition the U.S. agree to Israel's widening the Philadelphia corridor from several hundred meters to several kilometers, a step essential to finally overcome the pernicious problem of tunnels through which the Palestinians have been smuggling arms from Egypt. Like Egypt, Jordan will never admit openly that permitting a nexus between autonomous Palestinian territory and the Hashemite Kingdom would be a death warrant for the Jordanian state. A permanent IDF presence in the Jordan Rift Valley would be crucial for preserving the stability of Jordan as an American ally and Israeli peace partner.

2004-02-24 00:00:00

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