Israel's Security Policy in a Changing Middle East

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon - In the Middle East we witness the strengthening of political Islam, the entrance of even more radical jihadi elements into the arena, the heightened Shia-Sunni conflict everywhere, and radical Sunni elements in many countries around us. At the same time, Israel enjoys today a relatively calm situation security-wise. The border with Lebanon has been quiet since 2006. The border with Syria is, generally speaking, calm. In Gaza we have gone a couple of weeks with not even one provocation on behalf of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any other faction. Sinai: again, a relatively calm situation. Having served in the military, I don't remember such a calm situation for such a long period of time. But we have to warn ourselves that what dominates the Middle East is instability. So far, they are engaged among themselves, fighting each other, but it might be, in the end, that the weapons are directed toward us. They are well-armed - militias, elements, whether Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad - with rockets and missiles, which are a threat for our security. In the current situation, the Egyptian and Israeli defense establishments have good cooperation for the benefit of our two countries. Sitting in Cairo and looking around, I believe that the only safe border is the border with us. Neither from Libya nor Sudan; the Gaza Strip is a problem; even across the Red Sea, Yemen is not stabilized; so this [the border with Israel] is their only safe border. These days, in Sinai, [Egyptian] military forces are deployed to deal with the terror elements. It is against the military annex of the peace accord, but we allowed it. [They made a] special request; we responded positively for a certain period of time. And, of course, we expect the Egyptian defense forces to deal with this phenomenon of terrorists using Sinai as no-man's-land, because, in the end, the weapons are directed against them.

2013-06-19 00:00:00

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