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Egypt has decided to build a security fence around the northern Sinai city of El Arish. The fence will totally encircle the city – which is located on the Mediterranean coast about 30 miles from the Rafah border crossing – and will include 10 access points for traffic in and out of the city.
In the past few months, El Arish has become a hub for terrorist activity in Sinai and a staging area for goods and weapons being smuggled from Rafah into Hamas-controlled Gaza. The fence is intended to curb that activity.
Will the Red Cross call the fence a violation of the Geneva Conventions, as it called the Israeli security fence?
Will the U.N. Security Council consider a resolution calling the El Arish fence illegal as it did with the Israeli fence?
Will the European Union declare the El Arish fence illegal as it did the Israeli one?
Will the Organization of the Islamic Conference call the El Arish fence an example of Apartheid as they did with the Israeli one?
Will Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam protest the El Arish barrier as they did the Israeli one?
When considering these questions, it’s worth noting that Egypt is trying to stop smuggling (a move that we wholeheartedly approve), while Israel is trying to keep suicide bombers from blowing up buses filled with innocent civilians. But, when it comes to the Middle East, there is no excuse good enough for Israel to act in its own defense. And, when it comes to curtailing the rights of Arabs in the name of legitimate security concerns, all that matters is who is doing the curtailing. If Arabs are doing it, the world doesn’t seem to have a problem. But if it’s Jews, that’s a violation of human rights. Which is why Israel is right to take reasonable measures it feels it must to protect its citizens – regardless of what the world thinks.Comments (36) »
Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 8:15 AM | Stand For Israel
We have discussed the ongoing chaos in Egypt as the military rulers continue to battle Muslim Brotherhood extremists and other terror organizations while imposing their rule on the population. Former National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams looks at Egypt and sees not a stable, authoritarian Egypt, but an Egypt that has all the dictatorship and none of the calm:
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The usual argument for supporting the new military regime in Egypt is the same as the argument that was used for supporting the Mubarak regime (right up until it fell): Egypt needs stability.
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 8:23 AM | Stand For Israel
Times of Israel correspondent Avi Issacharoff, one of the best journalists in the world covering Gaza and Sinai, says that the attack on the tourist bus in Taba, Egypt indicates something we’ve written about before — the pro-Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in Egypt are smart enough to go after Egypt’s two biggest money-makers:
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The attack on the tourist bus is the latest in a series of dozens of strikes from extremist Muslim groups meant to damage one of the two most important income sources in Egypt — tourism. In Cairo, it’s clear that the terrorists would not stop at just tourism, but are already gunning for the primary income source, the Suez Canal. This is what is generating the sense of urgency in military operations in the Sinai.
Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 at 8:42 AM | Stand For Israel
The small sect of Christians known as the Copts have inhabited Egypt since, essentially, the dawn of Christendom. To be sure, it hasn’t always been easy. But now, writes Samuel Tadros at the Hoover Institution blog, this ancient community is threatened as never before — which leaves us to wonder and worry whether or not there will be any Christians left in Egypt:
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The Islamists’ goal is not the annihilation of Copts. Copts are not likely to face a holocaust in the future, though local pogroms are all but guaranteed. The Islamists’ goal is to subjugate Copts to their notions of their proper place as dhimmis under benevolent Islamic rule. It is for Copts to accept dhimmitude, live by it, and embrace it. Copts will be allowed to live in Egypt, tolerated as second-class citizens recognizing and accepting their second-class status. Any attempt by Copts to break those chains of dhimmitude and act as equals is frowned upon as an affront to the supremacy and primacy of Islam in its own land.
Monday, February 10th, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
Elliott Abrams, writing at The Council on Foreign Relations, essentially advocates (without directly saying so) cutting off U.S. aid to Egypt due to Egypt’s ongoing repression of civil liberties of groups including the Muslim Brotherhood. While the military regime in Egypt may be preferable for dealing with the U.S., the West, and — above all — Israel, Abrams believes that the military can’t make the reforms to Egypt’s economy necessary to stave off future political volatility. It’s a good long-term argument with a potentially ugly short-term:
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A wave of prosperity could in theory calm the political situation, at least temporarily, but the immense challenges facing Egypt’s economy make any quick fixes impossible; the restive political environment makes it unlikely that the public will swallow painful economic reforms while their political rights are squelched.
Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Stand For Israel
Eric Trager, Egypt expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, circles back to the excellent work he did three years ago during the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to see where the country is now. Following Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood and the coup to replace them, Trager says the only law in contemporary Egypt is that nothing is permanent:
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Within Egypt, the defining feature of the past three years has been fear, not democratization. And those who are most powerful on paper have typically been the most fearful.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 8:42 AM | Stand For Israel
Ehud Yaari, writing at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, notes that Israel has essentially been looking the other way as Egypt piles more troops into the Sinai (beyond the number their peace treaty with the Jewish state allows) to combat Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas terrorists and those smuggling goods into Gaza:
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Considerable Egyptian army forces are now constantly deployed in central and eastern Sinai (Areas B and C of the peninsula, respectively), in a manner and scope never envisaged by the teams that negotiated the treaty more than three decades ago. Going forward, this new reality on the ground is unlikely to be reversed and is bound to have profound consequences for Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation, Cairo’s ongoing counterterrorism campaign, and the fate of Hamas in the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand For Israel
Walter Russell Mead, writing at The American Interest, says that the presence of anti-Semitism in a society tells us something important about that society’s future – or lack thereof:
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Rabid anti-Semitism coupled with an addiction to implausible conspiracy theories is a very strong predictor of national doom; Nazi Germany isn’t the only country to have followed these dark stars to the graveyard of history. Many liberal minded Americans (though loathing both anti-Semitism and chowderheaded conspiracy thinking themselves) don’t like to look this truth in the eye. It leads to some very uncomfortable reflections about the potential for democracy in many countries beyond Egypt, and casts a dark shadow over the prospects for the development of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state. It suggests that there are narrow limits on what we can expect from diplomacy with Iran.
Monday, December 30th, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Stand For Israel
Not to toot our own horn, but we told you back in July that the Suez Canal would become an issue in Egypt’s ongoing difficulties. Now, David Schenker writes at the LA Times that it’s actually happening. After an attack on a Chinese vessel at the end of August, traffic through the canal is taking another hit as is the Egyptian economy.
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Now the third pillar of the economy, Suez Canal revenue, which amounts to nearly $5 billion a year, is at risk. In 2012, more than 17,000 vessels transited the canal. Lately, fewer ships are utilizing the passage, and last year, revenue declined 5%. The first half of this year saw a 6.6% drop in traffic, prompting Egyptian authorities to raise fees.
Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel
In the ongoing debate about what America’s role should be in Egypt, Washington Institute for Near East Policy Executive Director Robert Satloff writes that doing nothing is better, at this point, than doing something. Intervening by engagement or disengagement (the revocation of aid) would not serve U.S. interests at this point, Satloff writes.
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Egypt’s military forced Obama, like his predecessors, to prioritize U.S. interests, and he, too, put interests first, values second. With all the generals’ faults, the chances for the emergence of effective, and eventually elected, civilian government may be greater with the military in control than with Morsi and the Brotherhood, but that should be recognized for what it is — a pretty low bar.
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Stand For Israel