Report: Israel to allow more Egyptian troops in Sinai


(JTA) — Israel will allow more Egyptian troops to be deployed in the Sinai in order to keep order in the increasingly chaotic peninsula, according to a report in The Economist.

Ehud Barak said that Israel would allow thousands of Egyptian troops into the peninsula, the magazine reported. The report said that the new deployment could include helicopters and armored vehicles but not tanks.

Military deployments in the Sinai are limited by the peace accords under which Israel had returned control of the Sinai to Egypt.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the speaker of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, instructed the Israeli Parliament’s legal adviser to examine whether a move to allow the deployment of Egyptian troops in the Sinai would require Knesset approval.

"It is quite possible that the permission to allow the introduction of Egyptian forces in Sinai, which is defined as a demilitarized zone as part of the peace agreement, will require the approval of the Knesset," Rivlin said. "It is not enough that there is an agreement between the defense minister and prime minister, without the approval of the government."

Over the past year, Israel repeatedly has allowed additional deployments of Egyptian troops to the Sinai in order to quell disturbances and keep order. The latest news comes a week after terrorists infiltrated Israel via its border with Egypt and killed eight Israelis.

The Aug. 18 incident also strained Israel’s ties with Egypt when five members of Egyptian security forces reportedly were killed amid the clashes between the terrorists and Israeli troops.

Israel on Thursday agreed to jointly investigate with Egypt the deaths of the Egyptian security personnel, Reuters reported.

"Israel is ready to hold a joint investigation with the Egyptians into the difficult event," Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, according to Reuters.

Previously Israeli officials had said Israel would investigate the deaths and report back to Egypt on the findings.

Demonstrators in Cairo on Friday held what was billed as a “million-man” demonstration calling for the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Egypt. According to The Jerusalem Post, hundreds of demonstrators showed up.

Also on Friday, the Arab League’s secretary-general, Nabil Elaraby, who was previously Egypt’s foreign minister, reportedly said in a television interview that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is not sacred and could be amended or annulled if breached.

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