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Press Release - JINSA Calls on U.S. Gov't. to Demand Egypt Secure Sinai

(Washington, D.C.) - 8/22/2011 - The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) today called upon the White House to communicate its expectation that Egypt's ruling Supreme Military Council will act to secure the Sinai border with Israel and act to curb attacks on the pipeline supplying Israel and Jordan with natural gas.

JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann said, "Unless the Egyptian government makes clear its commitment to enforcing the security of the Sinai border, the relationship between Israel and Egypt will continue to unravel. As the provider of $1.3 billion annually to the Egyptian military, the U.S. government is well positioned to convey the seriousness with which it views the deterioration of Egypt's border security responsibilities."

"One casualty of the so-called Arab Spring has clearly been Sinai security. Thursday's terror attack coupled with a series of attacks on the natural gas pipeline, a critical energy supply for Israel and Jordan leaves no doubt that the Israeli security establishment will have to view Egypt in a new light," Neumann said. "Terror attacks like the one yesterday were much more difficult to carry out prior to President Mubarak's toppling."

The August 18 Palestinian terrorist attacks claimed nearly 40 Israeli casualties, including eight dead. Seven of the terrorists, members of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), were killed in the IDF counterattack. The PRC is affiliated with Hamas, itself a terror organization. As a consequence, Israeli jets successfully struck PRC targets in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Further upsetting Israeli-Egyptian relations were strong calls by Egyptian officials to recall Cairo's ambassador to Israel.

It is believed that the terrorists departed Gaza via Egypt and then crossed into Israel via the border near the southern city of Eilat. They numbered as many as 20 and operated in several small groups hitting different targets in southern Israel nearly simultaneously. The targets included two civilian buses and several cars. IDF troops responding to the attacks were struck by IEDs placed along their anticipated travel routes.

"The size and complexity of the operation clearly points to a decline in Egyptian counter-terror activities and the ongoing freedom of action enjoyed by Hamas and the PRC in Gaza," Neumann said. "This is exactly what should be troubling to the administration. Peace cannot be advanced while Egypt abrogates its responsibilities and its obligations."

The Egypt-Israel peace treaty prevents Israeli forces from operating in the Sinai with which Israel shares a 170-mile long border. Israel is dependent upon Egypt to police the increasingly chaotic area.

"There is great potential for a full-scale crisis to erupt between Egypt and Israel," Neumann said. "The White House must unequivocally convey to the Egyptian government its expectations for Sinai security and let it be known that failure to do so will seriously affect our ongoing bilateral relations." A timely U.S. response conveying a sense of urgency is essential."

Jewish Institute for National Security of America
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