Weapons Smuggling from Egypt to Gaza: What Can Egypt and Israel Do?

[Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs] Maj.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Yom Tov Samia - The Palestinians have brought into Gaza more than 30,000 rifles during the past two years, more than six million rounds of ammunition, more than 230 tons of explosives, and scores of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. These are the weapons Israel will face next time. The next round in Gaza will look more like Lebanon than what Israel faced in Operation Defensive Shield in Judea and Samaria in 2002 or in previous rounds in Gaza. The Egyptian police and army have not yet received a clear order to block infiltration or smuggling from Sinai into Gaza. If they have a clear order, they will act. If the Egyptian side will declare the border inside Sinai a closed military zone for three kilometers, I'm sure they can do it. The Philadelphi corridor between Egypt and Gaza should be the first priority for Israel. We should not expect the Egyptians to do the job for us, so this means we should clear the three kilometers from our side. As I have been saying for years, Israel should reoccupy Philadelphi and should stay there until we have had a peaceful relationship with the Palestinians for at least 25 years. The terrorist groups in Gaza, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are looking only toward the next war with Israel. They are not preparing themselves for any other option. The next round is unavoidable from my point of view, and sooner is better for us. Even if a political agreement is reached with the Palestinians, who will implement it? The weak Fatah or the strong Hamas, who is waiting for the day to fight Israel? There can be no political solution if there is no force to implement it. The writer was Commander of the IDF Southern Command during 1997-2001 and was a member of the Israeli negotiation team during the Taba and Cairo talks for the implementation of the Oslo Accords.

2007-12-19 01:00:00

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