Sneh: Egypt and Gaza Dangerous

Former Deputy Defense Minister says that a new regime in Egypt could strengthen ties with Hamas in Gaza and allow them to easily arm themselves.

Elad Benari , | updated: 3:16 AM

Former Deputy Defense Minister, Dr. Efraim Sneh, said on Sunday that a connection between a new administration in Egypt and the Gaza Strip could be dangerous for Israel and the IDF must prepare for this option.

Sneh, who spoke to Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website, said that he is convinced that the riots in Egypt will bring about a regime change. “The regime as we know it now will be no more,” he said and added: “No matter which regime takes over, its level of commitment to the peace agreements with Israel will be lower.”

Sneh emphasized that he believes a real military confrontation is a remote possibility that he himself does not think is currently an issue, but nevertheless “it must be kept in mind that Egypt will not be as it was before.”

He added that the IDF should prepare out of this assumption. However, he emphasized that does not accept the claims that have been made that Israel erred in signing the peace treaty with Egypt. “If we sat today in the Sinai many good things would not be happening, and on the other hand we would not cause whatever is occurring in Egypt not to happen. We have changed our position in the Middle East,” he said.

As for the security changes that may occur in the south, Sneh said that the main concern is that a new Egyptian government would allow the Hamas movement in Gaza to easily arm itself. He estimated that replacing the Egyptian government will allow a very disturbing flow of weapons into Gaza. However he noted that in his view, “Egypt will not use Gaza and Hamas against Israel. It would be bad enough if it would allow Hamas to arm themselves.”

Sneh added that these security concerns in southern Israel require the acceleration of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which he believes would ultimately create a moderate Arab axis against the radical axis being created in the south. Sneh, who was a member of the Labor Party, added that in his opinion Israel should withdraw from Judea and Samaria, since, as he claimed, “there is no longer any international legitimacy to our control in Judea and Samaria.” However, he also stressed that what is important in the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority is the establishment of a moderate liberal state and not one that would invite a coup. In order to do this, he says, “Israel must take care to strengthen and to establish the Arab state's economy because citizens who are satisfied do not start revolutions.”

Sneh’s comments come as the radical Muslim Brotherhood took a giant step towards becoming a powerful force on Israel’s southern border on Sunday, after it began negotiations with Cairo's newly-appointed vice president Omar Suleiman.

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Essam el-Erian made it clear that the group’s joining negotiations does not mean that it is backing down from its demand that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down.