Creating new perspectives since 2009

Former Egyptian official claims Israel is working to reoccupy Sinai

February 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

A former official in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned of Israeli intentions and efforts to reoccupy the Sinai Peninsula. Ambassador Hassan Issa, the former Director of the Israel desk at the Ministry said, “Israel has worked and is still working towards achieving its goal of returning to Sinai, and Israelis speak openly about this.”

According to Mr. Issa, “Israel won’t rest unless it reoccupies Sinai” because “there are strategic, economic and religious reasons for doing so, including Israeli tourism to Sinai, which has objectives related to the Torah”. More controversially, he added that “there are attempts to encourage Israeli women to engage in sexual relationships with Sinai Bedouins to have children who would act as a motivation for them to stay in Sinai”. Such children, he said, would have Israeli citizenship through their mothers.

His comments came during a discussion at the Centre for Future Studies – an affiliate of the Egyptian Cabinet, Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC)   attended by a number of experts, ambassadors and scholars to discuss the Jewish state in Israel and repercussions for the future. Mr. Issa asserted, “The thing which troubles Israel the most and makes it feels threatened are Arab attempts to strip it of legitimacy; this has been referred to frequently by Israeli experts and generals.”

Issa worked on the demarcation of borders between Egypt and Israel and stayed five years on the border for this purpose. In his contribution to the latest discussion he claimed that in the wake of the Camp David agreement and Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai, the late Yitzhak Rabin, who was by then seen as a “dove of peace”, remarked, “Israel would have been in a better position if Sinai was in its hand without a peace agreement”.

The former Egyptian official attributed the Israeli desire to reoccupy Sinai to “strategic and religious motives”. The Israelis believe that Sinai contains Jewish religious monuments, he said, and it’s where Prophet Moses first came to prominence. “Moreover, it has many economic benefits; Sinai sand, for example, is the best for the glass industry.”