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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Israel accuses Egypt of violating Camp David peace treaty

Egyptian-Israeli border

Israel is reported to have said on Tuesday that Egypt is currently violating the Camp David peace treaty by deploying the tanks in the Sinai demilitarized zone.

According to the terms of the Camp David peace agreement signed between Egypt and Israel with the mediation of USA in 1979 Sinai is divided into different zones. The military presence, types and numbers of the weapons of Egyptian army on the territory of the peninsula have to be agreed with Israeli side, and the zone along with the Israeli border has to be demilitarized with only light Egypt’s military and police presence and international peacekeeping troops. All the additional deployments of Egypt’s armed forces should be considered with Israel.

Egypt strengthened the presence of its armed forces and conducted the massive military operation in Sinai after the deadly attack on 5 August at the border checkpoint close to Rafah which left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead and the following series of the clashes between armed militants and Egyptian military and police in the city of El-Arish and the neighboring cities. The military operation is ongoing in the region, with the air strikes and heavy artillery which have been reportedly used against the terrorists responsible for the attacks. The offensive will continue until the situation in Sinai will be stable and the security will be restored.

Israeli military officials told today in an interview to Associated Press that they have spoken with Egyptian military authorities and with President Mohamed Morsy to let them know Israeli objections regarding the military deployment and the ongoing operation in the Sinai region following the latest developments and attacks on the border.

Egyptian troops and military vehicles deployed in Sinai
The officials said they welcomed the Egyptian military crackdown in the region, and the deployment of additional troops and weapons and using of the air forces and artillery as well were agreed and approved by Israeli authorities. But the issue of the tanks deployment in Sinai should be coordinated with Israel, said the officials, who were speaking on conditions of anonymity due to the security situation and sensitivity of the issue. The deployment of the tanks in the demilitarized zone in Sinai along the border with the Jewish state violates the terms of Camp David.

According to the reports, the Egyptian border official said he has already met with Israeli colleagues and heard their concerns about the military presence in Sinai.
There were also some rumors started to circulate in Egypt that Israel not only expressed its concern about the issue but also asked Egypt to withdraw the tanks from Sinai. Those reports were strongly denied by Yasser Ali, Mohamed Morsy’s official spokesperson. Israel didn’t ask about the withdrawal of the tanks and Egypt needs no permission to protect its territory and security, according to the spokesperson.