Concern is mounting in Israel over reports that the Egyptian police force has
abandoned the Sinai Peninsula in face of growing Beduin violence, and that the
territory will turn into a breeding ground for global jihad.
information that has arrived in Israel, Egyptian police authorities have
abandoned dozens of police stations throughout the peninsula after they were
attacked by Beduin armed with missiles and assault rifles.RELATED:Photo gallery: Egyptians enjoy Mubarak-free realityPM welcomes Egyptian army’s pledge to honor peace treaty
was behind Israel’s decision two weeks ago to allow the deployment of 800
Egyptian soldiers in Sharm e-Sheikh and Rafah.
Additional requests since
then have been rejected.
In recent years, the Sinai hasturned into a launching pad for attacks against Israel, including by Hamas,
which several months ago launched Katyusha rockets into Eilat from the Egyptian
The Egyptian military has for years encountered difficulty in
controlling the Beduin population, which does not hold allegiance to the
Egyptian government in Cairo.
“The Sinai is already known as a lawless
land,” a senior defense official said over the weekend. “There is real concern
that if the Egyptians don’t get the Sinai back under their control, it could
develop into a major threat to Israel.”
Israel, which has urged all its
citizens to leave the Sinai immediately, is particularly concerned about the
possibility that Hamas will take hold of parts of the peninsula and use it to
launch attacks into Israel via the 240-kilometer long Israeli- Egyptian border,
with an emphasis on Eilat.
There is also concern that without a real
Egyptian security presence in the Sinai, Hamas will be able to increase the
amount and quality of weaponry and explosives it smuggles into the Gaza Strip
Israel has shared these concerns with its allies, as well as
on a personal level between Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.
Ashkenazi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen.