Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has banned members of his government and the Knesset from talking about the deadly attack on Israel soldiers on the border with Egypt last weekend. Three soldiers were killed, as well as the attacker, an Egyptian border policeman.
Netanyahu is concerned about the deterioration of Israel’s relations with Egypt. Local media have reported that Israeli political, security and media circles have expressed their outrage over the incident. Some have called for a reassessment of the relationship with Israel’s neighbour.
Questions are now being asked about the success of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, given that it does not appear to have softened the feelings of the Egyptian people towards Israelis.
According to Israeli political analyst Ariel Kahana writing in Israel Hayom, which is close to the ruling Likud party in Israel, the peace process between Egypt and Israel more than four decades ago has not changed attitudes. The peace, he said, is still “cold”.
The attack at the weekend by 22-year-old Mohammed Salah Ibrahim was not the first of its kind, despite the security and political cooperation between Cairo and Tel Aviv.
“The Egyptians have not accepted peace with us,” said retired Israel general Amos Yadlin. “This requires us to assume that, from time to time, hostile operations will take place from this ally.”
Extreme right-wing journalist Yoni Ben-Menachem suggested that the presence of religious Muslims serving on the borders with Israel in the security services of both Egypt and Jordan would jeopardise peace agreements. Israel, he insisted, must act to limit the influence of these ideas in the security forces, as it has done with the Palestinian Authority.
A number of Israeli analysts have called on the government in Tel Aviv and the Israel Defence Forces to change the rules of engagement for soldiers stationed on the borders of the occupation state. Channel 14 correspondent Halil Rosen called on the IDF Chief of Staff, General Herzi Halevi, to implement urgent measures to prevent such attacks happening, starting with changing the rules for opening fire in the border area.
Israeli social media activists have expressed their anger at the lack of coverage of the deadly attack in the Egyptian and Arab media.