Al-Qaeda in Sinai

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


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Last August, five rockets were fired from Sinai at the Israeli resort town of Eilat; one, the only one to cause damage, instead hit the adjacent Jordanian town of Aqaba, killing one and wounding five. Global jihadists were believed to be behind it. Another rocket, also probably fired from Sinai, had hit Aqaba in April without causing casualties.

Severe bombing attacks have also struck Egyptian targets in Sinai: in 2006, one in Dahab that killed at least 23; in 2005, one in Sharm el-Sheikh that killed 88; and a double bombing at the Taba and Ras al-Shitan resorts in 2004 that took at least 34 lives.

The mounting terror threat from Sinai puts Israel in a difficult dilemma. Under the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Israel withdrew from Sinai while Egypt agreed to leave it demilitarized, deploying only police and border guards there. But after the first gas-pipeline bombing last February 5, Israel—for the first time since the peace treaty’s signing—allowed Egypt to move military forces into the peninsula.

Though the two Egyptian battalions were supposed to put a lid on the growing anarchy, just days later, Israel turned down an Egyptian request to deploy additional forces, fearing “a complete breakdown of the peace treaty with Cairo.”

Upholding the peace treaty, then, means a growing presence for Al-Qaeda and other global terror in Sinai, without adequate Egyptian—or any other—forces to counter it. Derogating from the treaty means allowing Egypt—in the post-Mubarak era that has seen rising extremism there—back into the peninsula, which borders Gaza to the north and Israel itself to the south, and from which Egypt attacked Israel in 1948 and 1967.

Above all, the situation underlines the fragility of the peace-process paradigm, which has become axiomatic in international diplomacy and assumes that Israel can gain peace in return for territorial concessions.

As long as the Mubarak government—which, while violating almost all the other terms of the peace treaty, never militarily attacked Israel—ruled Egypt, it could be claimed that the paradigm was at least succeeding in the Egyptian case. Today, with Sinai becoming a terror haven that threatens both Egypt and Israel, and with Israel rightly judging that letting Egyptian forces enter it is even more dangerous, the days—1967 to 1979—when Israeli forces controlled Sinai can only be regarded with nostalgia.

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  • SHmuelHaLevi

    Anywhere Islamic gangs are allowed to form unchecked one can count on brutality, violence, murder, torture and in general, mayhem.
    It is intrinsic to the cult of death.

    • Buglike

      To make the above statement even more accurate just remove the word "gangs".
      We are dealing with a subset of humanity…down on the roach level.

  • Tziona

    Israel should me stating loud and clear that if Egypt wants to break the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (as it clearly wants to) then the Sinai should revert to Israeli control. That was the deal: Israel gets peace, Egypt gets the Sinai… if Egypt won't give Israel peace, then Israel gets the Sinai back. Simples.

  • Shalom Freedman

    As if all this is bad enough there are increasing reports about economic deterioration in Egypt and a society moving in the direction of chaos. This looks like a scenario which is made for Muslim Brotherhood increased power. It seems unlikely that the regime will make a completely radical return and threaten Israel militarily as that would cause them vital economic American aid- but who knows?

  • Fred Dawes

    Anywhere that islam is allowed to form anyplace that Muslims can come as one people will be the end of that idea of freedom and laws.
    We as a people are about to disappear under the foot of obama and if Israel takes the path of fools as we have it will disappear into a evil place as the USA Will soon.
    If the muslim will not get peace TO Israel IT must use its WMD'S and face facts egypt is under the control of the brotherhood of evil.

  • Ehud Barak

    We shall make a big noise but do nothing about this – after all, we love our peace partners, love, Ehud Barak (deliberate serial war loser and #2 politician in Israel)

  • TheDesertSleuth

    Take heart, Israel. As General Gordon told the Mahdi, in the movie "Khartoum;"
    "If I die by your religion, you shall surely die by mine." Gordon was killed two days
    before reinforcements arrived. He died by the hand of man. The Mahdi, however,
    died about three months later, under mysterious circumstances; he wasn't killed.

    Israel will survive.

  • jasonz

    look we are gonna hear more and more of these. we as american citizens need to prepare ourselves to fight. i mean fight to kill. if we rely on the govt and courts to do anything, we will be lost. look at the UKthats where we are headed! where muslims can walk down the street threatening to kill without any reprocussions. but if you say its bad then you are wrong. Arm yourselves ladies and gentlemen. prepare your selves to have to be the ones to kill inorder to survive. once it starts not one of them can be left. none of them can be safe not women, not men, not children, not the elderly. why? because none of them on our side will be safe. dont count on god or the courts or the govt to help. they are watchers at best and usually accomplices. for any onf you who want to argue with me, then bring it on. my first question to you will be whats your plan? what will you do to protect America

    • TheDesertSleuth

      My plan, to paraphrase Churchill, is to "fight in the streets and in the fields; in the cities and on the beaches, and in the hills," and to never, never surrender; until the
      Islamists back down, or are soundly defeated.

    • Fred Dawes

      You are right with the coming total money collapse of this government we who want freedom over total mass enslavement must now get what is happening or die like dogs, its a fight for life over the ideals of people like obama and his brothers of evil.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    What we see is the ongoing crumbling of the barriers that protect Israel, if it
    continues Israel will be naked, totally exposed to Islamist agression. The
    Israeli Governent should have a war plan, be prepared to implement it or
    expect to end up like Yasser Arafat, hiding in and living in the bathroom as
    their last frontier. Maybe Canada will send in a military contingent to help.
    William

  • Iron Mike

    The US needs to stop all aid to Egypt.

  • sandykramer

    Taquiya