The Philadelphi Corridor: Take it Back, Israel, and Soon
by VICTOR SHARPE
August 23, 2011
The Philadelphi Corridor was ceded to the Palestinian Authority in 2005.
Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign and a new and temporary military regime installed. Mubarak was a dictator, which in the Arab and Muslim world is par for the course. Some believe the 83 year old has billions stashed away. That, too, is not uncommon. Arafat stole vast sums from the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, which his widow now enjoys.
Whatever a new Egyptian government may call itself, it will not be a free and democratic government as we know in the West; even behind an El Baradei or a Suleiman, a Tantawi or whatever fig leaf.
Despite the naivety and idiocy spewed by the international mainstream media, still attempting to liken the demonstrations in Cairo to the anti-Soviet democratic uprisings in Eastern Europe, this will become a Muslim Brotherhood regime with all the anti-Jewish and anti-Christian venom and Islamic triumphalism that one expects from such a beast.
Look at the Middle East. Once secular Turkey is no more but rapidly becoming an Islamic state and thus predictably hostile to Israel. Egypt, despite Mubarak’s severe control of the Muslim Brotherhood, is fundamentally an Islamic state in all but name. Its people are overwhelmingly in support of strict Islamic practices. Look at the demonstrators in the Cairo square; they were all men. The only time women were seen was when they were trotted out for the ever gullible and manipulated Western press. Egyptian women no longer project the free, secular image they once did in the 1950s. I remember seeing old movies of that era and the women looked and dressed like their European and American counterparts. Now they are covered in the Islamic shrouds that so demean their sex.
Mark Steyn, on Fox News, recently pointed out that nine out of ten Egyptian women have undergone genital mutilation according to Islamic practice; a fact that should outrage the Western world but which elicits nothing but deafening silence. And despite, or even because of, Mubarak’s control, the Egyptian state still officially spews the most vile anti-Semitic filth seen since Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. All of this bodes ill for a western style new Egyptian government that will truly honor the peace agreement made with Israel in 1979. And don’t forget the security of the West’s lifeline – the Suez Canal.
Islam (there is no radical and no moderate Islam) will guide the regime, and the more hateful later writings in the Koran and Hadith will be its roadmap. That being the case, Israel must repossess the Philadelphi Corridor as a most basic but vital military act for its own security and survival. It can still do so while only Hamas rules in the Gaza Strip.
There is now no more need for smuggling tunnels beneath the Egyptian – Gaza border. Instead, endless fleets of trucks bring into the Strip from Egypt – the big Muslim Brotherhood – the most sophisticated weapons and missiles needed for Hamas – the little Muslim Brotherhood. Only by repossessing the Philadelphi Corridor can Israel hope to stem the lethal tide.
The question is, will Israeli leaders, including Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, continue the same timid policies that too many have shown when dealing with the Quartet, the U.N., the Obama Administration, the EU, ad nauseum. Ehud Barak has a particularly poor record with respect to Israel’s security since being a member of subsequent Israeli governments.
He betrayed the Christian Lebanese force in southern Lebanon fighting alongside Israel by ordering the Israeli forces to quit the southern Lebanon Security Zone, thus abandoning Israel’s loyal ally, the Southern Lebanese Army (SLA). As a result Israel now has Iran’s surrogate, Hezbollah, on the same Lebanese border.
Barak’s misplaced energies have largely been at the expense of the Jewish farmers and villagers in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) who are routinely harassed and forced to see their homes demolished by his orders – often at the behest of court rulings given to the extreme leftwing “Peace Now” movement - in those same ancestral and biblical Jewish territories.
I fear Israel will find that the Gaza Strip becomes an appendage of a new Islamic Republic of Egypt. Gaza has always been a perilous finger pointing into the very heart of the Jewish state. Now it will become even more so, backed by an Egyptian hand armed with enormous and highly lethal amounts of weaponry supplied over many years by the U.S. We can only hope that an Israeli leader with foresight and intestinal fortitude will put Israel’s needs above all else. Hopefully that leader may yet be Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But I prefer not to hold my breath just yet. Indeed, Netanyahu’s reported “sigh of relief” that Egypt will honor the peace may be tragically premature.
Repossessing the Philadelphi Corridor will no doubt evoke screams of rage from the morally compromised world, but they will always condemn Israel however peaceful the Jewish state acts. So with that truism, it is surely better to be hung in the media and the international corridors of power as a wolf than a sheep. It is just as much in Egypt’s best interests as well as Israel’s to frustrate Hamas aggression unless, of course, Egypt’s government slides into the Muslim Brotherhood’s orbit. Then it is definitely Israel’s only hope of security to arbitrarily re-possess the narrow Corridor.
When the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in 1979, the 14 km long security and buffer zone known as the Philadelphi Corridor was under Israel’s control. Its purpose was to prevent the illegal importation into the Gaza Strip from Egypt of weapons and terrorists to be used against Israel. The Oslo Accords, signed in 1995, allowed Israel to retain the security corridor along the border but it soon became apparent that Sinai Bedouin and the Palestinian Arabs were digging ever more sophisticated smuggling tunnels under the border.
Following the infamous and tragic disengagement from Gaza in 2005, forced upon the Jewish villagers in Gush Katif by Ariel Sharon, Israel gave up control of the Philadelphi Corridor to the Palestinian Authority in September of that year. Meanwhile, massive smuggling continued. It was only a matter of time before Hamas, the little Muslim Brotherhood, evicted their Fatah rivals in a bloody coup in 2007. Hamas, with its charter calling for Israel’s extermination, has now ruled the Gaza Strip since then, including occupying the Philadelphi Corridor.
According to a recent poll in the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Achronot, some 65% of Israelis agreed that the fall of Hosni Mubarak would pose a direct danger to Israel and a majority believed that a Muslim Brotherhood regime would take power. Even earlier, the Palestinian Authority, according to David Poort in Al Jazeera, “had pleaded with the Israeli government to re-occupy the Philadelphi corridor on the Gaza-Egypt border, in order to tighten the siege on Hamas-run Gaza.
On January 23, 2008, masked Hamas gunmen demolished the steel wall alongside the Philadelphi route in Rafah and hundreds of thousands of Gazans entered Egypt.
“Less than two weeks later, in a meeting in Jerusalem, Ahmed Qurei, the former Palestinian Authority prime minister and member of Fatah, asked Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, if Israel could retake the Philadelphi corridor to seal the border and cut off supplies to Hamas.”
Apparently Livni did nothing and Hamas, as we know, has been greatly strengthened militarily ever since.
Whether one accepts as sincere the deep concerns expressed by the PA leadership regarding Hamas and its urging of Israel, specifically Tzipi Livni at the time, to re-possess the Philadelphi Corridor, it nevertheless is crystal clear that not to do so will inevitably bring dire security problems for the increasingly beleaguered Jewish state.
So take it, Israel, and take it soon, for the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other miscreants neither sleep nor rest, and time in this instance is most assuredly not on Israel’s side. Despite “assurances” from the Egyptian military that they will continue to honor the peace treaty, it is imperative for the Jewish state not to be lulled yet again into a sense of false security.
The Al Qaeda-Hamas attack massacre of Israeli civilian bus passengers in southern Israel has exacted a gruesome toll in lives. The Sinai peninsula is becoming a territory without any adequate Egyptian control and a staging ground for terror attacks upon Israel. And the sacking of Israel’s embassy in Cairo by an Egyptian mob without any meaningful semblance of intervention by Egyptian police does not augur well for the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty.