Less than 100 days prior to pulling out of the Gaza Strip, Israel has decided to deploy a large number of troops at the Gaza-Egyptian borders.
Israel says to deal more effectively with arms smuggling from Sinai into the Palestinian territories, however, Palestinians believe the move is politically motivated, and comes as a response to the PA request for a complete withdrawal, including from all border crossings.
A senior Israeli military source said Monday that army was having a tough time dealing with the smuggling in the area, estimating that huge quantities of arms were being channeled from Sinai into the West Bank.
Israeli security sources believe that the extent of the above-ground smuggling operations along the section of the border south of Rafah exceeds that of the operations being carried out through the tunnels along the Philadelphi route.
The smuggling routes run from deep in Sinai to the area of the border, and from there, to the southern Negev, the Arava and the Jordan Valley. The weapons then go from the Jordan Valley into the West Bank cities – Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.
Israeli security officers believe that Bedouin citizens of Israel are also playing a part in the smuggling operations.