August 19, 2013
Several news items from the Middle East:
First: At least 24 Egyptian policemen have been killed in an attack by suspected militants in the Sinai Peninsula.
The attack on the police convoy, close to the town of Rafah on the Gaza border, was one of the deadliest on security forces in several years.
A state of emergency is in force across Egypt amid wider political turmoil following a military crackdown on Islamists in which hundreds have died.
Thirty-six protesters died in a prison van in the capital Cairo on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the ousted President Mohammed Morsi be detained for a further 15 days while they investigate fresh allegations against him.
He has reportedly been accused of complicity in acts of violence against protesters outside the presidential palace last December.
Second: The northern Sinai has become one of the most dangerous places in Egypt since 2011. The area is a crossroads for local Bedouin smuggling and criminal gangs, Egyptian jihadists and militants with links to the adjacent Gaza strip. Kidnapping, the smuggling of guns and explosives, and attacks on Egypt's security forces have proliferated since the end of President Mubarak's military rule in 2011.
The Sinai Peninsula, scene of heavy fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, is host to an international observer force of soldiers deployed to monitor the peace since the 1979 treaty with Israel but they have neither the mandate nor the capacity to stop the Sinai descending into lawlessness.
So far, the tourist resort of Sharm El Sheikh [at the southern tip of the Sinai] has remained immune to the post-Arab Spring violence. It is too early to tell if this attack is in direct response to events in Cairo and other mainland Egyptian cities and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Third: Israel is quietly and carefully watching the turmoil in neighboring Egypt while maintaining close contacts with the Egyptian military amid concerns that the escalating crisis could weaken their common battle against Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, officials said.
As the week's death toll in Egypt rises, this alliance has put Israel in a delicate position. Wary of being seen as taking sides in the Egyptian military's standoff against Islamist supporters of the ousted president, Israel also needs the Egyptian army to maintain quiet along their shared border — and to preserve a historic peace treaty.
The 1979 peace treaty, Israel's first with an Arab country, has been a cornerstone of regional security for three decades. It has allowed Israel to divert resources to volatile fronts with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. For Egypt, it opened the way to billions of dollars in U.S. military aid.
Although diplomatic relations have never been close, the two militaries have had a good working relationship. These ties have only strengthened since longtime President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising two and a half years ago. With both armies battling extremist Jihadi groups in the Sinai Peninsula, near the Israeli border, Israeli security officials often say that relations with their Egyptian counterparts are stronger than ever.
With so much at stake, Israel has remained quiet since the Egyptian military ousted Mubarak's Islamist successor, Mohammed Morsi, in a coup on July 3.
Morsi, who became Egypt's first democratically elected president, hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group considered the parent organization of militant Palestinian Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip and is a bitter enemy of Israel.
Israel has not commented on this week's bloodshed, in which the Egyptian troops killed hundreds of Morsi's supporters who were rallying against the coup and demanding that he be reinstated.
"Israel does not have to support the (Egyptian) regime, especially not publicly. It is not our place to defend all the measures taken, this is not our business," said Giora Eiland, a former chairman of Israel's National Security Council.
At the same time, Eiland suggested that international condemnations of the Egyptian military's actions have been excessive. He said Israeli and Western interests are "much closer" to the interests of Egypt's military leader, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi and his secular allies.
"Even if we don't share the same values, we can share the same interests," he said. "The Israeli interest is quite clear. We want a stable regime in Egypt."
"In the end of the day, the U.S. has to realize the real potential, reliable partner is the combination of the coalition of secular people in Egypt and the current military regime," he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office declined comment but Israeli defense officials confirmed to The Associated Press that security cooperation with Egypt has continued over the past week.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified information, said the topic was discussed last week with the visiting chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of State, Gen. Martin Dempsey. They refused to discuss the content of the discussions.
Now, brethren, let me state unequivocally that the "Oslo Peace Process" of Bill Clinton and the 1990s was a disaster for Israel, simple because of the facts it ignored and what "was" and "is" most important for Israel.
Western leaders fastened desperately on Yasser Arafat’s ‘so-called’ abilities by calling him a moderate, and ennobling him with the Nobel Peace Prize.
That Arafat was squirreling away billions of dollars into overseas private bank accounts, using the Palestinian Authority controlled media to poison the minds of Arab children with Nazi like propaganda, and imposing his lethal will as an outright despot and dictator did not deter Western leaders.
Instead, they threw their tax payers’ money at him because they considered him a "strong" leader with whom they could make deals. The same is happening again today with Mahmoud Abbas with yet more catastrophic results.
The time is long overdue for a United States president to end the same failed policies and inaugurate not a roadmap to an illusory peace but a roadmap for Israel’s security.
It will not happen with the present White House incumbent, arguably the most unfriendly and hostile president Israel has ever endured.
Whether such a future president could ever overcome the pressures and blackmail of the Arab oil producers or of the endemic hostility within the U.S. State Department towards Israel is open to question.
But in its absence, one thing remains crystal clear: The only peace the Arab and Muslim world is ready to offer Israel is the peace of the grave.
You and I who are truly Born Again Christians have the duty and responsibility to become very vocal with our opinions regarding America’s positions relative to the nation of Israel. Yes, the Holy Scriptures do declare in Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? But, the historical record is clear. GOD DID RE-GATHER THEM IN THE HOLY LAND!
And it is our OBLIGATION AND PRIVILEGE TO STAND WITH THEM TODAY IN PRAYING FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM!!!!!!
YEDIDIM OF ISRAEL
PS: Please continue to pray for my health issues relative to this hip. I see the doctor again Wednesday AM.