Israel and Egypt are on the verge of concluding an agreement allowing the deployment of more Egyptian border guards at the Philadelphi border route in Rafah.
‘the agreement would be signed very shortly’ said an Israeli official following a meeting on Sunday between the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s political-security division, Amos Gilad and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.
Sources close to the meeting said that Israel’s demand that Egypt to bear responsibility for preventing arms smuggling along the borders would be subject to further discussions.
‘We want the issue of who bears responsibility for the Philadelphi route after we leave to be clear, and explicitly written,’ the Israeli officials said
Ã‚Â Apparently Egypt has dropped its demand for amending the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty prior to the deployment of extra Egyptian troops along the borders. Therefore, it is very likely that Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz would advise the cabinet to go ahead and implement the agreement as a military protocol that doesn’t require a Knesset approval.
The chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) holds a different position.
Steinitz is leading the opposition against ‘the erosion of the demilitarization arrangements included in the peace treaty with Egypt’ and is lobbying for presenting the agreement to the Knesset for approval.
Israel rejected Egypt’s demand to deploy 3,000 troops along the border in Sinai, between Rafah and Eilat, and only agreed to the deployment of 750 border troops along the border route from the Mediterranean to Rafah. .
Gilad left Sunday to meet with Suleiman in Cairo and hear the final Egyptian stand regarding the agreement draft.