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Sinai remilitarization: Israel surrenders

Sinai peninsulaThe army announced its response to Egyptian demands that the Camp David treaty be amended to allow Arab troops in Sinai. The IDF will beef up its units in the Negev, on the Egyptian-Israeli border.

That’s silly. The treaty did not preclude an Israeli military presence in the Negev. By bringing more units to the border, IDF will not match Egypt’s violation of the treaty, but merely accept the Egyptian violation. The new units are useless for strategic defense, which was only provided by Sinai’s depth. Most importantly, no amount of Israeli troops on the border would offset the Egyptian anti-aircraft batteries that would be brought in the midst of Egyptian reinforcements.

Unless the US immediately approves a strong autocrat in Egypt, that country’s government will be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, which would use any pretext, real or imagined, to incrementally remilitarize Sinai. The irony is that the Israeli and Egyptian governments have a common aim in Sinai: to flush out the Islamists. But doing so will require a large Egyptian military presence in Sinai, and the Islamists would use that pretext to demand the remilitarization of the peninsula. A large-scale NATO or Saudi presence would be an option acceptable to both sides.

Israel has the only way to restore quiet to Sinai: accept that the Camp David treaty is dead and declare Sinai a free-fire zone without occupying it.

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