[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon
is a key promoter of the "quiet for quiet" approach towards the Gaza Strip.
Under "quiet for quiet" the Gazans can manufacture weapons to their heart's
delight inside Gaza and try their best to smuggle in whatever they can
manage to get away with - all this as long as they don't shoot their
So it is hardly surprising that we should now find him praising Egypt for
their action against smuggling (something not explicitly covered in the
cease fire understanding Israel accepted). .
Why do I sound so cynical? Perhaps because there is a long history of
Israeli officials praising Egypt for their action against smuggling when at
least until now it ALWAYS turned out that the Egyptian action wasn't
actually making any significant dent in the weapons smuggling.
Is the situation different today?
#1. The media reports from Egypt do not indicate that the smuggling tunnels
have actually been shut down. In fact they indicate that the tunnels
destroyed by Israeli bombing have been restored and are in operation.
#2. While some shipments have been intercepted it is hard to get an
indication as to if the interceptions are a drop in the bucket or a major
part of the flow.
#3. I notice that Minister Ya'alon isn't bragging that the cost of bullets,
rifles, explosives or anything else in Gaza has gone up as a result of the
Egyptian activity. In the past such information was cited as indicators of
the efficacy of anti smuggling efforts.
#4. On the other hand - according to Al-Masry Al-Youm , yesterday Egyptian
Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi banned the private ownership, rental
and use of nearly all land on Egypt’s eastern border. The decree, covering
what spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Ali explained on the military’s official
Facebook page as “strategic areas of military importance,” covers land five
kilometers west of the border, which separates Egypt from Israel and the
Gaza Strip. Land in the city of Rafah, near to Gaza, is an exception to the
Does this indicate plans to implement a crack down?
Bottom line: for those of us who are jaded by years of overly optimistic
report from Israeli officials who - for whatever reason - felt it served
Israel's interests to praise Egypt even when it really wasn't delivering the
goods - its going to take a lot more before we will join in breaking out the
champagne to toast Egypt for cracking down on the smuggling.]
Cairo cracking down on arms smuggling, top minister says
Arms busts since Pillar of Defense proof of Egypt’s stance, according to
By Ilan Ben Zion The Times of Israel December 25, 2012, 8:05 pm
Egypt has been cracking down on arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip in the
month since Israel concluded its bombing campaign against Hamas and other
Palestinian factions in the coastal territory, Israel’s Minister of
Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon said on Tuesday.
“Since Operation Pillar of Defense, the Egyptians at least appear as if they
understand that it’s their responsibility to eliminate smuggling to the Gaza
Strip,” he told Army Radio.
Hamas and other terrorist organizations smuggle weapons and ammunition into
the Gaza Strip through Egypt’s lawless Sinai Peninsula. Arms from
post-Gaddafi Libya, Sudan and Iran enter the Hamas-controlled Strip via
tunnels beneath the 15-kilometer Egyptian border with Gaza. In an attempt to
curb the passage of arms, Israel instated a naval blockade of the
Palestinian enclave after Hamas seized control of the territory in a violent
overthrow of the rival Fatah faction in 2007.
Last month, Hamas officials denied that the ceasefire agreement between
Israel and Hamas, which ended the eight-day war, includes Egyptian
guarantees to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Gaza. However, Ya’alon
said that “the Egyptians report on the destruction and confiscation of
[arms] deliveries, either from Sudan or not.”
Israeli officials have repeatedly charged that Iran provides Gazan terrorist
groups with weapons, including rockets, via Sudan.
On Monday, Egyptian military forces in the Sinai intercepted a shipment of
17 short-range missiles en route to the Gaza Strip. The French-made rockets,
with a range of three kilometers, were confiscated 22 kilometers south of
el-Arish, an Egyptian military spokesman said.
Last month, Egyptian authorities intercepted two arms shipments from Libya
bound for the Gaza Strip. One included 185 crates full of arms and
ammunition — including bullets, anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions,
rocket-propelled grenades, landmines and explosives.