Israeli sources have said that the Israel Defence Forces' decision to prevent its citizens from going to the border area with Egypt and the security zone comes after the US failed to activate security coordination between Tel Aviv and Cairo. While Israel and Egypt are meant to work together according to the terms of their peace treaty, Israel feels that a direct line between the presidential palace and Israeli security is essential to counter what it calls "Sinai terrorism". The direct line was cut following the ousting of Hosni Mubarak.
According to sources close to Israel's external security service, Mossad, the Deputy US Secretary of Defence for Intelligence Affairs, Michael Vickers, arrived in Egypt earlier this month in an attempt "to activate the war against terrorism". This was agreed upon in November during ceasefire talks for Israel's offensive against civilians in Gaza. The Israelis accuse the Egyptians of "reneging" on the agreement.
One media website in Israel expressed concerns about the apparent "rapprochement between Cairo and Tehran", not least because it emanates from the fact that the main initiator of this is Qatar. The question that is now being posed in Washington and Tel Aviv is this: why does Qatar stand behind Syrian rebels against President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian support while encouraging Egypt-Iran links? Is Qatar looking to establish an Egypt-Iran-Qatar axis to replace the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah version?
Such questions, say the Israeli sources, are important because Qatar has been trying recently not only to help Cairo financially and economically but also Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. "The biggest concern, though," say the Israelis, "is that Qatar's efforts through Egypt will not only lead to Iran entering Cairo but also Ramallah."
Source: Al-Hayat, London, 16/01/2013