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Egypt’s Morsi seeks to revise ’79 treaty with Israel, militarize the Sinai

Special to WorldTribune.com

CAIRO — Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in what would constitute
a significant revision of the 1979 treaty with Israel, wants to re-militarize
the Sinai Peninsula.

Morsi’s adviser has told the legislature that the peace agreement with
Israel must be amended to end the demilitarization of Sinai. Mohammed Ismat
Sef Al Dawla said Egypt could not secure Sinai without a military presence
throughout the peninsula.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

“The peace treaty doesn’t allow for the protection [of Sinai], because
it disarms two thirds [of the peninsula],” Al Dawla said.

In testimony to the Shura Council on Sept. 13, Al Dawla said Sinai could not be developed without an Egyptian military presence. He cited a $263 million plan by Morsi to develop Sinai’s infrastructure as well as provide jobs to the 400,000-member Bedouin community.

Al Dawla, addressing the council’s Arab Affairs Committee, said the
counter-insurgency operation in Sinai in August highlighted the weakness of Cairo’s position. He said Israel threatened to block Egypt’s military deployment.

“The Israeli media threatened to storm Sinai to mount pressure on
Egypt,” Al Dawla said. “This requires Egypt to move to amend the treaty to take full control of the land of Sinai.”

During his campaign for president, Morsi suggested that the treaty with
Israel must undergo revisions. But since he assumed office in late June, the
president has not issued any statement on the future of relations with the
Jewish state.

The CI campaign in Sinai has entered its second stage. Officials said
the second stage focused on intelligence to locate suspected insurgents and
arms caches.

Bedouins have asserted that police and special forces were raiding homes
in northern Sinai. The head of the Tarabin tribe, said to be linked to
massive arms and fuel smuggling, reported nearly nightly police raids around
the provincial capital of El Arish.

“They do not care that women might be inside the houses they
are storming,” Hamed Abu Oshb, the Tarabin chief, said.

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