Israel won’t object to Egypt bringing heavier military forces into the Sinai Peninsula for the purpose of combating terror groups, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Intelligence Dan Meridor said Tuesday.
Speaking to Army Radio, Meridor said the terror attack launched from Sinai on Sunday, in which 16 Egyptian border guards were killed, should serve as a wake-up call to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi that cooperation with Israel is in his interest.
“Morsi has learned that terror hurts them as well as us,” Meridor said, adding that the biggest problem in Sinai is a sovereignty deficit that leaves a vacuum which is being filled by terror groups.
Meridor said that Israel usually approves requests to bring more equipment and troops into the troublesome peninsula if it is for a specific purpose, this despite clauses of the Camp David agreement that limit the size and capabilities of Egyptian forces in Sinai. The minister noted that he is not aware of any requests to allow the Egyptian air force to operate near the border with Israel.
Turning his attention to Syria, Meridor said that the end of the Assad regime will be a blow to Iran, but that the makeup of the future government in Damascus is out of Israel’s hands.
“It is not as if we have a choice,” he said. “We don’t control everything, we don’t define what will happen. But it is preferable to have a strong stable government that will guard the border.”
Meridor did not reject the possibility that Israel may open its border with Syria to accept refugees fleeing the civil war in that country, but noted that for the time being there is no movement of refugees towards Israel’s border.