Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that any decision to increase the number of Egyptian troops in the Sinai border region must be
approved by the cabinet. He was responding to reports that
Egypt and Israel had agreed to let thousands of Egyptian troops,
helicopters and armored vehicles into Sinai following an escalation in
violence along the border.
The move to deploy
troops in Sinai
would change details outlined in the peace agreement with Egypt and the
prime minister said this is not something that Israel should "rush into."
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"Security arrangements must be dealt with, and we must invest more
resources in building the barrier on the border with Egypt," Netanyahu
Netanyahu made the comments during a forum of Likud ministers before the weekly cabinet meeting.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz
(Kadima) said in response that "by law, the committee must approve
changes to the agreement with Egypt and permitting more Egyptian troops
"The diplomatic level must make the decisions and we must approve them," he said.
Egyptian security official said on Friday that after
continued negotiations, an initial agreement between Egypt
and Israel had been reached to deploy more Egyptian troops in the Sinai region."
But the official said negotiations were pushed along by a deadly attack by gunmen last week, who killed eight.
The Egyptian official's comments would appear to confirm a report in The Economist
on Friday which quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying Israel
would agree to an increase in Egyptian troops in the Sinai to tighten
In response to the report in The Economist, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin instructed
the Knesset's legal adviser Eyal Yinon to examine whether the option of
deploying thousands of Egyptian troops in Sinai would require Knesset
"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,"
said Rivlin. "It is not enough that there is an agreement between the
defense minister and prime minister, without the approval of the
Reuters contributed this report.