Friday, February 18, 2011

Netanyahu lets Egypt build up its Sinai army to 4,000 troops

Without serious aforethought, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have waved through another 3,000 Egyptian troops into North Sinai, topping their number up to 4,000 and virtually scrapping the key demilitarization clause of the 1979 peace treaty. debkafile's military sources report that the men belong to the Egyptian army's 18th mechanized infantry division.

Earlier this month, Israeli permitted the first 1,000 Egyptian troops to enter Sinai to guard Sharm el-Sheik and the hotel and resort strips of eastern Sinai. Senior Israeli military officers report that Israel posed no conditions for its permission then or now – not even demanding a time line for their withdrawal so that Sinai might revert to the military-free buffer status which buttressed the peace for 32 years.

Neither were limits placed on the Egyptian troops' operations and movements.