Egypt and Smuggling
We should cool off enthusiasm over Egypt. No agreement or decision that includes a component of ending arms smuggling will be implemented, even if the Egyptian regime wants it to happen, for several reasons.
First, the Bedouins: The smuggling is not undertaken by Egypt, but rather, by the Bedouins who live in the northern Sinai. These tribes do not speak Egyptian Arabic, they do follow Egyptian culture, and they are not a party to Egypt's political ethos. They make a living by smuggling women and drugs to Israel, as well as arms, ammunition, and missiles to the Strip. Their livelihood hinges on this, and every time the Egyptian regime attempts to press them, they carry out an attack on a Sinai beach, as happened in Taba, in Sharm el-sheikh (twice,) in Nueiba, and in Ras al-Satan. This is how they "convince" the government in Cairo to let them be and continue the smuggling.
When the regime dispatches a police force they fight it, kill its people, and take them captive. The likelihood of the Egyptian government overtaking them is similar to the likelihood that the Israeli government will be able to eliminate polygamy among the Bedouins in the Negev. The Bedouins in the Sinai will continue to smuggle regardless of agreements or decisions that bound Egypt.
Second, the bribes: Those familiar with Egyptian realities know that everything there is facilitated via bribes. The low salaries of officials require them to act in line with their needs, and they do it big time. What do you think would be the response of an Egyptian police officer at a Sinai roadblock who earns several dozen dollars a month when a truck packed with "pipes" seeks to go through, and the driver offers him $100? Will Mubarak personally arrive at the roadblocks to ensure they operate properly? The likelihood that policemen at Egyptian checkpoints would stop taking bribes from trucks transferring arms to Gaza is lower than the likelihood of seeing no corruption among government ranks.
Third, the administration: Mubarak's decisions on almost any front are completely watered down as they pass through Egypt's administration. The number of different ranks the decision must go through is immense, and every level removes the parts it doesn't like. The chances that a presidential decision on curbing smuggling will be implemented as is at a Sinai checkpoint are slim. Mubarak may want it, but his decisions are not carried out. This is not about malice; it's merely Egypt.
Just to illustrate the point: Several weeks ago, the Palestinians published a report that the Egyptians started to seriously combat the smuggling tunnels between the Egyptian and Palestinian Rafah. I will spare the readers the hair-raising details of Egypt's actions. The Egyptians initiated an inquiry to discover who suddenly became so motivated, and discovered it was one person, who did not receive a big enough reward from tunnel operators and decided to teach them a lesson. The Egyptians immediately found a different posting for this hyperactive figure.
We shall see United Nations decisions and perhaps some agreements, yet we shall only see implementation on the ground once Egypt is able to control the Bedouins, once there are no longer bribes there, and once Mubarak's orders are carried out. Until that time, you can forget about Egypt putting an end to the smuggling.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s department of Arabic.
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
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The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz