Israel Prepares for Its New Rowdy Neighbors

Even if United States President Barack Hussein Obama sees nothing wrong with the current events in Egypt, our greatest ally, Israel, doesn’t particularly care for the goings-on at the neighbor’s house…especially, when they come over uninvited:

Militants crossed from Egypt’s turbulent Sinai Peninsula into southern Israel on Monday and opened fire on civilians building a border security fence, defense officials said.One of the Israeli workers was killed, and two assailants died in a gunbattle with Israeli troops responding to the attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which underscored the growing lawlessness in the Sinai desert since longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular uprising last year.

Military spokeswoman Lt. Col Avital Leibovich said the assailants have not been identified but acknowledged that defense officials suspected Palestinian militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which also borders the Sinai desert in that same area, might have been involved.

Several hours after the attack, an Israeli airstrike killed two men riding a motorcycle in the northern Gaza Strip near the Israeli border. The Islamic Jihad militant group said the men were members on a “reconnaissance” mission and vowed revenge. Military officials said the incident was not connected to the earlier infiltration from Egypt.

Israeli security officials have grown increasingly anxious about the security situation in the Sinai since Mubarak’s ouster. Continued political turmoil in Egypt, weak policing in the Sinai and tough terrain have all encouraged Islamic militant activity in the area. The mountainous desert now harbors an array of militant groups, including Palestinian extremists and al-Qaida-inspired jihadists, Egyptian and Israeli security officials say. The tumultuous situation surrounding Egyptian elections, in which Islamic groups made a strong showing, has added to Israeli unease.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio that there has been “a worrisome deterioration of Egyptian control” over the Sinai. Barak said he expected the winner of this week’s presidential elections in Egypt to honor the country’s international obligations – an apparent reference to Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood has said it would respect the historic peace accord but that it would also seek modifications.

Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and military chief, said he hoped Israel could conduct a security dialogue with the Egyptians and demand more forceful policing in the Sinai.

“No doubt Sinai has become a security problem,” Mofaz told Army Radio. “Today’s incident ratchets it up a notch.”

There was no immediate comment from Egypt on the attack.

They’ve been a little busy:

The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to face down Egypt’s ruling generals in a “life or death” struggle over the country’s political future, after declaring that its candidate had won the presidential election and would refuse to accept the junta’s last-ditch attempts to engineer a constitutional coup.

As final ballot results trickled in and unofficial tallies suggested that Mohamed Morsi had secured approximately 52% of the popular vote, the Brotherhood deployed its harshest language yet against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), promising to bring millions of Egyptians back on to the streets if attempts to rebuild the old regime continued.

“Over the past 18 months we were very keen to avoid any clashes or confrontations with other components of Egypt’s political system because we felt that it would have negative consequences for the democratic system and for society as a whole,” said Fatema AbouZeid, a senior policy researcher for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party and a media co-ordinator for the Morsi campaign. “But now it’s very clear that Scaf and other institutions of the state are determined to stand in the way of what we’re trying to achieve, and we won’t accept this any more. Egypt will not go back to the old regime through any means, legal or illegal.

“If we find that Scaf stands firm against us as we try to fulfil the demands of the revolution, we will go back to the streets and escalate things peacefully to the highest possible stage,” she said. “Now we have a new factor in Egyptian politics, the Egyptian people themselves, who will not accept a return to the old regime in any form, not after so much Egyptian blood was shed to remove it.

“The revolution is facing a life or death moment and the Egyptian people have put their faith in Dr Morsi to represent them at this time.”

On Monday the parliamentary speaker, Saad el-Katatni, a Brotherhood veteran, said he did not recognise last week’s decision by Mubarak-era judges in Egypt’s supreme constitutional court to dissolve the legislature, a move widely viewed as highly politicised and designed to bolster the generals. Katatni said MPs planned to attend parliament – which was surrounded by armed soldiers – as usual on Tuesday or convene in nearby Tahrir Square, setting the stage for a showdown between the generals who have held sway for six decades and the long-outlawed Islamist movement now on the brink of political control.

An 11th-hour constitutional declaration issued unilaterally by Scaf awarded the generals sweeping powers including the right to put forward legislation and an effective veto over clauses in the new constitution, and formalised the army’s ability to detain civilians and sweep out of barracks at moments of “internal unrest”.

Political analysts described the move as a constitutional obscenity and said it left the three major institutions of the post-Mubarak Egyptian state – the presidency (now curtailed), the parliament (now dissolved) and the constitutional assembly (now floundering in legal uncertainty) – all under the full or partial influence of the armed forces.

With the oldest of all (and the father of all) Islamic Extremist Organizations taking over Egypt, you can hardly blame Israel for being ready to go to war.

Speaking of war, remember when ol’ Scooter declared that Israel should go back to its old borders, as they stood before the 1967 war?  PJTV’s Andrew Klavan had a better idea.

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