Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, said on Sunday morning that Israel was not threatening Egypt in any way, and that an international force located on the Egyptian border to prevent arms smuggling into the Strip would be not only inefficient but would also undermine the Egyptians' sovereignty.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Gilad responded to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit's statements from Saturday night, according to which Egypt opposed the presence of an international force on its border. Aboul Gheit also ascertained that most of the arms reaching Hamas are smuggled into the Strip via the sea, and not through the Rafah crossing.
"When the Egyptian foreign minister speaks, he is reacting to headlines or accusations. Egypt is an important state, not only from the smuggling perspective, but also as a leading country in the Arab world," said Gilad.
"International forces in Egypt would be perceived as undermining their sovereignty and beyond that, they don't work, look at the situation in Lebanon," he added.
"We are not threatening the Egyptians, we at not at war with them... nor are we stipulating the continuation of the operation on the progress of talks with the Egyptians," said Gilad.