- This is an intense time between the United States and Israel. The US wants Israel to continue to wait, do more covert actions, and continue with increased sanctions and diplomatic talks. The real debate is about Israel acting unilaterally.
Israel and Egypt
- There is a serious issue with Egypt that is growing more intense each day. Since Mubarak’s fall, there has been a significant buildup of global Jihadists in the Sinai, with bombings of the Egypt-Israel gas pipeline, stepped-up smuggling into Gaza, and 3 terrorist attacks against Israel within the year. On August 5th, global jihadists stormed an Egyptian military post near Rafah, which borders Egypt and the Gaza strip in the Sinai, and killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. They captured an armored personnel carrier and truck filled with explosives. The IDF thwarted what they said was a planned major terrorist attack. The truck exploded at the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel, and the carrier came within 300 yards of the Kerem Shalom Kibbutz before being destroyed.
- Since the 1979 Sadat/Begin/Carter Egyptian/Israel Peace Accords, the Sinai border has been peaceful, with a 130 mile stretch of “no-man’s land”. The accords made specific restrictions on the number of troops and types of weapons allowed there. With this recent attack, Israel allowed Egypt to move limited arms to root out terrorists, but they are sending in armored tanks, rocket launchers, and fighter jets far exceeding what Israel allowed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that Egypt withdraw its tanks. High level talks are going on now. The fear that Egypt would use a situation like this to move its military further into the Sinai is becoming a reality and a serious danger to Israel, especially with the following second development.
- Just 2 months after Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, came to power, he is opening doors to developing a relationship with Iran and Assad, something that former president Mubarek never did. Morsi is joining with 120 other countries along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who is also going to Tehran as part of the Iranian conference. Both the US and Israel object. Here are the concerns:
- They are concerned that Ki-moon is going to legitimizes the regime.
- Secondly, will President Morsi stand up against Iran? What is his position about Assad of Syria who is aligned with Iran? Will he stand against Iran’s attacking Israel, or will he align with Iran, Syria and Russia, who support both regimes?
Iran's Nuclear Potential
- On August 22 a NY Times article stated, Taken together, the moves reinforced Iran’s contention that a reordering of powers is under way in the Middle East, where Western influence is waning, and that the American-Israeli campaign to vilify Iran as a rogue state that exports terrorism and secretly covets nuclear is not resonating in much of the world.
West Bank Border Crossings
- Israel is easing up on travel restrictions for Palestinians on the West Bank. They are relaxing border crossings with the West Bank as hundreds of thousands from the West Bank are entering Jerusalem for Friday prayers on the Temple Mount, shopping in malls, and enjoying Israeli beaches. The Palestinian Authority is accusing Israel of deliberately trying to damage the Palestinian economy and undermine the Palestinian Authority by allowing this. Hamas, wanting to keep Palestinians in misery and poverty, is concerned that this may hurt their recruitment of more followers, especially in the West Bank. Other Palestinian officials fear that it is promoting “normalization” with Israel, something they consider a crime, as exemplified in the firing of a West Bank school principal this past May who took his students to a Tel Aviv beach.
Syria opposition Forces
- There continues to be great concern that if the “opposition” forces in Syria overthrow the Assad regime, all of the global jihadists that have been flooding into the area to join their forces will next turn to Israel through the Golan.
Lebanon military Drills
- According to a report from Lebanon’s state backed newspaper Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah leader, Nasrallah, supervised drills with 10,000 Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon’s heavily Shiite area, the Bekaa Valley, were held in September. Note: This is where a future site of confrontation with Israel will take most likely place. The simulated fighting is in preparation for attacking the upper Galilee. Iran and Syria have been funding, arming, and training Hezbollah in Lebanon.