Cable: Israel, Palestinians coordinated on security with Egypt's Suleiman

Thursday, February 10, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

LONDON Israel is said to have maintained close relations with Egypt's new vice president.

U.S. government documents reported close ties between Israel's military and intelligence community with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman. The documents reported constant contact between Israel and Suleiman when he served as Egypt's intelligence chief until his appointment as vice president in January.

"There is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of [Suleiman]," a cable from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv said.

The August 2008 cable reported a meeting between U.S. diplomats and officials from the Israeli Defense Ministry. The cable, released by WikiLeaks on Feb. 7, asserted that the adviser to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, David Chacham, conducted an early dialogue with Suleiman's office in Cairo.

"He [Suleiman] would serve at least as interim president if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated," U.S. diplomat Luis Moreno said in his report regarding the Israeli assessment of Suleiman.

Since 2007, Suleiman was the most active Egyptian officials in diplomatic and security efforts with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Suleiman was assigned such issues as border control as well as the reconciliation between the PA and the opposition Hamas movement, which captured the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The then-intelligence chief was also said to have led quiet efforts for Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation. This included coordination between the two countries in stopping the flow of weapons and infiltrators to Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The cable disclosed Israel's assessment that Mubarak was physically deteriorating. In a visit to Egypt in 2008, Mubarak appeared frail during talks with Barak, who led a delegation to Cairo.

"He [Barak] was shocked by Mubarak's aged appearance and slurred speech," the U.S. cable said.

Egypt and Israel also established what the cable termed a "hotline" for direct communications. The hotline was ordered by Suleiman as part of efforts to improve security cooperation with Israel.

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