The serious incident that unfolded on Saturday morning resulted in three dead soldiers and is one of the worst attacks to occur on the Egyptian border in two decades.
This will result in much discussion and investigation into what happened. Because all the details take time to come out, what is important at the moment is to begin to learn from what happened and see if there are loopholes that could be closed in the future.
Israel has complex borders, and it is never possible to prevent every scenario. The incident Saturday involved a drug smuggling attempt initially and then developed into a serious attack that killed two soldiers at first and a third later.
This also unfolded over half a day from the early hours of the morning until after the sun had risen. This is a very remote, complex area along the border and it has seen drug smuggling incidents in the past as well as previous security threats.
Israel-Egyptian security cooperation is currently at a high level and it is expected that the cooperation will help lead to answers and hopefully processes that might prevent a recurrence.
Terror attack on Israel-Egypt border can have diplomatic ramifications
Another aspect of the incident is the diplomatic side. Egypt claims the officer who crossed did so in pursuit of drug smugglers.
Clearly, this is a sensitive issue now and that is a reminder of other times that we have seen our complex borders and relations challenged.
In April, a Jordanian member of Parliament was stopped for smuggling weapons. He was then released back to the Jordanian authorities for investigation.
In March, there was a serious incident in the North in which a terrorist infiltrated from Lebanon into Israel and planted a bomb near the Megiddo junction.
In 2017, an Israeli guard killed two Jordanians in an incident that also led to him being released. Not all of these incidents have easy answers and they require delicate discussions and also lessons to be learned.
Israel works with Egypt and Jordan closely and also with other partners in the Gulf increasingly.
In addition, Israel must manage the security situation in the North.
Not all incidents involving “lone wolves” or other types of attacks, or even mistakes, can be prevented.
A vital conclusion to this tragic incident needs to be the continuation of security and diplomatic cooperation between Israel and Egypt. Cairo has turned into one of Jerusalem’s most important allies in the region, and despite the pain and anger over the death of the three IDF soldiers, that relationship needs to be maintained.