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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

October 26, 2002

Shades of June, 1967

Belligerent Egyptian statements, Egyptian troop movements, and terrorist acts from Egyptian territory were part of the prelude to the 1967 War. I was reminded of the atmosphere during the weeks leading to that War when I encountered the following news stories.

First, this story from IMRA, October 23, 2002, under the heading, “Israel complains to Egypt for ignoring terror from Egypt - including Egyptian Army post”:

Israel Radio reported today that IDF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Moshe Yaalon told the Knesset Foreign and Defense Affairs Committee today that Israel has complained to Egypt for ignoring terror activities originating from its territory.

Yaalon reported that in a recent incident when the IDF exploded a tunnel for smuggling weapons, ammunition and terrorists from the Egyptian Sinai to Palestinian controlled Rafah, the smoke created by the explosion could be seen rising from an Egyptian Army position on the Egyptian side of the border.

It should be noted that Israel typically does not give public expression to the ongoing lack of Egyptian cooperation in preventing terror activities originating from Egypt - even though this constitutes a flagrant violation of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. This issue, for example, was not raised when Egypt offered to "contribute" to the situation by training Palestinian security forces.

The second relevant story comes from Arutz 7, October 23, and is equally as ominous, if not more so:
Egypt has concluded what it called a "major military exercise" in the Sinai Peninsula. Middle East News Line (MENL) reports that the 10-day exercise was conducted by the Third Army in southern Sinai, and was meant to determine combat skills and integrate new weaponry and systems for Egypt's ground forces. The exercise, the second in the Sinai peninsula over the last three months, was attended by Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi and other senior Egyptian officials. Tantawi said Egypt requires a powerful military to safeguard the country and regional peace.

Dr. Aryeh Stav, Director of the Ariel Center for Policy Research, told Arutz-7 several months ago, "I head a center that takes a long-range, strategic view. Egypt is one of the poorest nations in the world, yet it spends 20% of its budget on re-arming. It has one of the largest armies in the world, with 450,000 soldiers, and another 400,000 in auxiliary frameworks, and is outfitted with some of the most modern weaponry. It has no viable enemies anywhere else, and therefore the conclusion is that this army is being built up to fight a war against Israel. They announce this openly: Tantawi said recently that the army is preparing for the fight with the 'Zionist enemy.'"

[This story was also reported in part by IMRA on October 22, 2002.]

Fanning the flames of wars is always aided by first demonizing the intended enemy, and even this universal element is not missing from Egypt’s repertoire. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Egyptian state television will broadcast a 30-part series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamous anti-Semitic tract the show's creator and star says "reveals the Zionist schemes to seize Palestine."

This week, Egyptian television began advertising "Horseman Without a Horse," which it said will be broadcast during the first half of Ramadan, Islam's holiest month and traditionally prime time for serialized television specials. Ramadan starts in early November.

I sure hope I’m wrong, but my experience has taught me that when I forecast the worst and multiply it by one thousand, I am still proved an optimist.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland