But if, regarding the northern border, those remain scenarios for the time being, Israel’s southern, Sinai border with Egypt erupted on Sunday night with a very real incident when as-yet-unidentified terrorists—Sinai- or Gaza-based—took over an Egyptian checkpoint and killed about 15 Egyptian border guards there.
The terrorists then drove two vehicles full-speed toward the Israeli border—where one of them blew up and the other was targeted and destroyed by the Israeli air force, thereby averting what could have been a major, devastating terror attack within Israel.
Sinai has already been a hotbed of global-jihad terror since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, with the regime of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi—and now, also, Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi—unable or unwilling (or some combination of the two) to regain control.
With a terror incursion from Sinai taking eight Israeli lives a year ago and another attack killing an Israeli workman two months ago, Sunday night’s successful interception reflects heightened vigilance—but, while an achievement, hardly guarantees further quiet.
Netanyahu, visiting the site of the attack on Monday, said it was
clear that Israel and Egypt have a common interest in maintaining a peaceful border between them. However, when it comes to the security of Israeli citizens, it seems time and again that Israel must and can only rely on itself. No one can fulfill this role except the IDF and the security agencies of the State of Israel and we will continue in this manner.
Given the unsatisfactory talks with Panetta last week, the words conveyed a resonance going beyond the issue of the Sinai border.
The year and a half since the onset of what the West hailed as the “Arab Spring” has been a difficult time for Israel, which has to bear the brunt of regional realities produced in part by Western delusions. That pertains to Egypt, where the Obama administration helped push the moderate Mubarak from office and since then has backed the Brotherhood; and arguably to Syria, where earlier and stronger Western intervention on the rebels’ side may have helped them prevail before global jihadists began pouring into the country (though admittedly, even then, the Assad regime may have emerged as the lesser evil).
And it pertains to Iran, which has been encouraged by the rising Islamist tide and not at all deflected from its nuclear path by the West’s sanctions and talks. Whether Israel will apply the paradigm of “relying only on itself” to the Iranian issue remains to be seen, but these days it seems more a possibility than ever.
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