The Egyptian revolution that toppled Mubarak also left the Sinai desert vulnerable to militants and opened the borders to Gaza. Militants that escaped an Egyptian prison during the revolution then carried out the attacks on Israelis. Some of the attackers wore brown uniforms, similar to those used by the Egyptian Army. They attacked motorists killing civilians in the Sinai border areas. The accidental killing of three Egyptian soldiers by Israels response, caused an Egyptian outcry.
A number of other factors have added to the state of tension between the two countries over the past few months including the detention of an alleged Israeli spy in June, and the recent conviction of agents who spied for Israel. Israel protested the Egypt’s former foreign minister sponsoring reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas in May.
Egypt’s desire to review the contract under which it exports natural gas to Israel in response to a public outcry has also chilled relations between the two sides. That same natural gas pipeline in North Sinai that delivers natural gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked by unidentified militants five times this year. Mubarak is currently facing trial before a criminal court over several charges including the facilitation of exporting natural gas to Israel for below market prices.
Egypt lodged a formal protest to Israel over the death of members of its security forces, and demanded an investigation into the deaths. An army source was quoted by the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) as saying that Egypt closed the Al-Ouja border crossing until further notice. The crossing is used for trade exchange between the two countries.
Presidential hopeful and former secretary general of the Arab League Amr Moussa said on Twitter: “The blood of the martyrs shed for the sake of their sacred duty will not be wasted.”
Public anti-Israel sentiment in Egypt culminated Friday in a ‘million-man protest’ in Cairo against the peace accord with Israel in the wake of the recent events on the two countries’ shared border.
Events boiled over Friday Sept 9th when a crowd stormed the Israeli Embassy and broke down the wall around it. The Israeli Ambassador fled the country, while the embassy was ransacked and documents thrown from the windows.
Egyptian police and military did not interfere or stop the attack. Later attempts to restore order left Egyptians dead and a state of emergency declared.
- Democracy will bring an Islamic Government to Egypt, regardless of party or politics or ideology. The religion of the nation is Islam. That is the foundation of the majority of Egyptians beliefs and values. The Qur’an, (Koran) trumps any Sinai or Camp David Peace Accord.
- There is growing pressure in Egypt for ending the historic 1979 peace treaty with Israel, a pact never supported by ordinary Egyptians. The 1500 additional troops allowed in to the Sinai by Israel are but the beginning.
- A military and economic alliance with Egypt is set to be signed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The deal should be clinched when Erdogan visits Cairo next Monday – the first such visit paid by a Turkish prime minister in 15 years. Egypt and Turkey represent 50% of the Middle East population.
Israels former friends and allies are severing ties with Israel, only to unify with each other in opposition to Israel’s occupation, and in sympathy to the Palestinian cause. What started as an Arab Spring is heating up to be very hot Israeli Summer.