(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin instructed Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon on
Friday to examine whether permitting the Egyptians to deploy additional troops
in the Sinai Peninsula required the approval of the Knesset.
sought the legal opinion in response to reports that Defense Minister Ehud Barak
agreed to Egypt deploying thousands more troops in Sinai, despite limitations
set in the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
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“It is quite
possible that the permission to allow the introduction of Egyptian forces in
Sinai, which is defined as a demilitarized zone as part of the peace agreement,
will require the approval of the Knesset,” Rivlin said. “It is not enough that
there is an agreement between the defense minister and prime minister without
the approval of the government.”The Economist
magazine reported on
Friday that Barak said Israel would agree to Egypt deploying thousands of troops
in Sinai even though the peace treaty strictly forbade it.
according to the British weekly is backed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
said “the troops will have helicopters and armored vehicles, but no tanks beyond
the lone battalion already stationed there.”
Barak added, “Sometimes you
have to subordinate strategic considerations to tactical
According to The Economist
, Barak did not downplay Israel’s
long-term concern or the risk in what he was proposing. The new troops allowed
into Sinai would be unlikely to ever be withdrawn by any Egyptian government,
according to the magazine.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who went to
the High Court of Justice to try to block additional Egyptian troop deployments
in the past, declined to comment on Barak’s plan.