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Arens Accuses Egypt of Preparing to Violate the Military Terms of the Israeli-egyptian Peace Treaty

Defense Minister Moshe Arens accused Egypt today of preparing to violate the military terms of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. He claimed in a radio interview that Egypt is building a military infrastructure in Sinai sufficient for an entire field army.

Arens said that while the military annex to the 1979 peace treaty does not define the limits of the infrastructure Egypt can build in Sinai, it limits Egyptian troop deployment on the peninsula to a single division. According to Arens, the Egyptians are building facilities for an army of at least four divisions.

He said Israel feared that Egypt would soon be capable of the rapid deployment of more troops than are allowed in Sinai under the treaty. Arens, who opposed both the Camp David accords and the peace treaty with Egypt when he was, at the time, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, complained about the state of Egypt’s relations with Israel.

Israel did not give up the entire Sinai “merely to have an Egyptian Ambassador in Tel Aviv for only three years, up to when he was withdrawn in 1982,” the Defense Minister said. Egypt recalled its Ambassador to Israel during the war in Lebanon and has said it will not return its envoy until Israel withdraws its forces completely from Lebanon and meets other conditions. Israel still has an Ambassador in Cairo.