Egypt Policy Toward Gaza, Hamas Vexes Israel
Egypt's shifting foreign policy, including its decision to open its border with the Gaza Strip, embrace Hamas and upgrade relations with Iran, has roiled Israel, which says the moves pose new security threats and risks undermining the two countries' peace.
"We are troubled by recent developments in Egypt,'' said a senior Israeli official on Friday. "These developments can affect Israel's national security at a strategic level."
Israeli official: We are troubled by developments in Egypt
Israel is concerned about recent developments in Egypt, a senior Israeli official said on Friday according to a Wall Street Journal report published Saturday.
The unnamed official said "These developments can affect Israel's national security at a strategic level."
The comments come in response to Egypt's plans to open the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian Chief of Staff General Sami Anan on Friday warned Israel not to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Thursday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby said the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza will open on a permanent basis within seven to ten days.
EGYPT WARNS ISRAEL: Don't Interfere With Opening Of Gaza Border Crossing
Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt's plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel's concern, Army Radio reported on Saturday.
The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt's uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.
Before Egypt's uprising and ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, the border between Egypt and Gaza had been sealed. It has occasionally opened the passage for limited periods.
The article below underscores what all of this really means:
New Egyptian Policy
Israeli analysts see the new Egyptian border policy as part of the new government's efforts to respond to the Egyptian public's sympathy with the Palestinians in the Gaza, as well as its desire to break Mubarak's policy of cooperation with Israel.
This new border policy, on the heels of Egypt's successful brokerage of the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, has Israeli concerned that Egypt will drift toward Iran's orbit of influence.
Cairo and Iran both recently announced they were "turning a new leaf" in their diplomatic relations, after more than 30 years without high-level official contact.
"In the past, despite the effort of the government of Egypt to prevent it happening, Hamas was able to build in Gaza a formidable military terrorist machine," said the Israeli official. "If Egypt ceases trying to prevent that from happening, the threat to Israel will be much greater."
This marks a significant development. With an open border between Gaza and Egypt, one could expect to see arms flowing into Gaza in an unabated way - a development which cannot be good for Israel in any way. What it actually represents is another step in the progress towards war.
In Syria, we see a course which parallels Egypt, just a few months behind. And who do we see involved? The Muslim Brotherhood. Surprise, surprise:
Muslim Brotherhood Urges Protests In Syria
The banned Muslim Brotherhood has called on Syrians to take to the streets to protest against the regime ahead of Friday prayers.
The declaration is the first time that the Brotherhood, whose leadership is in exile, have called directly for demonstrations since pro-democracy demonstrations against President Bashar al Assad's autocratic rule erupted six weeks ago.
It comes as members of the country's army units have reportedly clashed with each other over the crackdown on protesters in the city of Deraa - the heart of the popular uprising.
Ausama Monajed, a spokesman for a group of opposition figures in Syria and abroad, said the clashes among the troops have occurred since President Assad sent the army into the city on Monday.
He said: "There are some battalions that refused to open fire on the people.
"Battalions of the 5th Division were protecting people, and returned fire when they were subjected to attacks by the 4th Division." The 4th division is run by the president's brother, Maher.
European governments will discuss the situation on Friday. A push for the UN Security Council to condemn the crackdown was blocked by Russia, China and Lebanon on Wednesday night.
Israel Watches Events in Syria Carefully
Israel is watching events in neighboring Syria carefully. Relations between the two have remained hostile since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war in which Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, but the area has been mostly quiet. Now, there is concern among Israelis that Syria's uprising could further destabilize relations.
Privately, officials have said they are concerned that the turmoil in Syria could further destabilize relations, and they wonder what kind of enemy Syria will be in the future.
"We are concerned that in the event that Assad would ultimately have to leave the presidency in one form or another, we are faced with a host of imponderables," he said. "We have no idea who will take over. We have no idea what the relative influence will be of the Muslim Brothers, which are there, [and] what will happen to Iranian influence in Syria. We have to have to watch this very carefully."
What is interesting in these developments (Egypt, Syria, Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Libya etc.) is this:
The future invasions of Israel must be coordinated in some way. Watching events now occurring with these uprisings, seems to reveal a centrally coordinated effort, whether its the Muslim Brotherhood or somehow, Iran, as has been suggested in so many news reports.
These "uprisings" have also been occurring with amazing consistency both in terms of how they began to the similar timing, and then how they have become co-opted by the Muslim Brotherhood.
If these uprisings can be coordinated by some central "motivation", whether it is Iran pushing the buttons behind the scenes or the Muslim Brotherhood, then its not a stretch to see how an invasion of Israel could be similarly coordinated in the future.
What we may be seeing now in the Middle East is simply preparatory work for the ultimate goal of invading and attempting to destroy Israel. If so, then things are progressing at amazing speed.
One aspect of all recent events in the epicenter is this: Israel is the ultimate focus and Israel's destruction is the primary goal of everything that we see happening in the region today. That's a guarantee.