סקופ: נתניהו אישר בנאום בפני חברי ליכוד שחיל האוויר הישראלי תקף בסיני באישור השלטון המצרי
حصري: نتنياهو أكد في حفل حزبي ان سلاح الجو الاسرائيلي شن غارات في سيناء بموافقة سلطات مصر
It’s a funny thing about claims by certain Arab leaders of undying loyalty to the Palestinian cause and unremitting enmity to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. We see how quickly these professed values are jettisoned when more pressing local political interests come into play. For decades, the Saudis supported the PLO and Palestine with billions in subsidies. The House of Saud even negotiated an Arab League peace plan which was offered to several Israeli leaders and ignored by just as many.
But look what happens when the Saudis feel their regional Islamic hegemony is threatened by some upstart Shiites in Iran. Look what happens when the Saudis turn to the U.S. expecting us to bail them out by overthrowing these rival Islamists competing for the mantle of top-dog in the Muslim world. Then, all of a sudden those Israelis begin looking better by the minute. The undying allegiance to Palestine drops by the wayside.
That’s why the Saudi king coughed up $1-billion to subsidize Israeli sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program, including the assassinations of its nuclear scientists and development of advanced malware like Stuxnet and Flame. It’s why other Gulf States have cozied up to Israeli miltary-intelligence elements and purchased billions in security infrastructure to bolster control by the ruling élite of their captive populations.
Egypt is yet another perfect example of such a waning of affection for its Palestinian brothers. Whatever one can say about Hosni Mubarak, at least he pretended to act as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. The new Pharaoh, who knew not Joseph, King Tut-al-Sisi, doesn’t even pretend to care about Palestine. After slaughtering thousands of his own citizens during protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, he has a potent enemy much closer to home than Israel. Egyptian Islamists, including Sinai Bedouins who have long been at odds with whatever regime stood at the center of the state power, now seek al-Sisi’s head.
He, in turn, knows his limits. His country is a basket case economically. His military has extremely limited capability. What better reason to turn to the IDF with its advanced intelligence capabilities and counter-terror weaponry. And the Netanyahu rightist government, at odds with former allies in the U.S. and Europe, delights in peeling off its former enemies in order to weaken the former united Arab front standing against it.
At a recent meeting before hundreds of Likud Party activists, Bibi boasted about a “sensitive military operation.” He told this public audience the exact nature of the operation and boasted about it. The Likud even posted a live video feed of the speech on its Facebook page (if any reader downloaded the speech or has access to it, please be in touch). Yet when Yediot Achronot submitted the story to the military censor it refused to permit publication. Many of you will know of my running battle from afar with IDF censor, Col. Ariela Ben Avraham. She is the officious, petty, puerile petty bureaucrat who censors to establish her self-importance; who censors without rhyme of reason. This instance is a perfect example.
Writing in 7th Eye, Shuki Tausig joined in the attack:
…This isn’t the first or the tenth time in which politicians, including Netanyahu, exploit military secrets as a form of private propaganda. But there is an even more important lesson hidden within this story: in stark contrast to the way it presents itself, the military censorship regime isn’t directed at Israel’s enemies, but rather against Israelis themselves. Iranian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Lebanese and every other intelligence agency have long known the “secret” Netanyahu exposed. For all practical purposes, any Israeli with access to the internet can discover it easily. The party against which the military censor acts is the wider Israeli public.
That’s why I gives me pleasure to be able to tell you that a confidential Israeli source tells me that the censored story involves an ongoing program of drone attacks by Israel on Islamist targets in the Sinai. The Egyptian security forces have tried repeatedly and failed to quell an ongoing rebellion there. Despite deployment of massive amounts of personnel, the attacks continue against these security forces viewed as interlopers sent from afar.
Al-Sisi is not proud. He is no nationalist. Nor is he a Nasser. He doesn’t care about Egyptian sovereignty. He cares about preserving his regime. Preserving the perks of office for himself and his military cronies. So if Israel can do the job better than he can–let ’em attack Egyptian soil. Israel has been doing this for several years. When it first began, it falsely claimed it was attacking Hamas militants who were collaborating with the Sinai Bedouin Islamists there. But now they’ve dropped even that pretense. Israel is simply doing al-Sisi’s dirty work for him because Israel hates Islamists and the Brotherhood as much as al-Sisi.
But what causes the Sinai militants to resist al-Sisi isn’t so much the former’s purported connection to ISIS, but rather the massive corruption, incompetence, and brutality of the current regime. With such miscreants in power, such resistance is only likely to increase over time. Nor will Israeli military strikes weaken their resolve. As we’ve seen with Israel’s campaign against Palestinian resistance, scores of military operations and wars have led to thousands of Palestinian dead and hundreds of Israeli dead, but no resolution and certainly no end to Palestinian resistance. The dysfunctional Israeli and Egyptian élite don’t wish to resolve conflict, they wish to manage it like a homeowner periodically mows the grass–with blades of grass substituting for human lives cut off in their prime.
There have been previous media reports confirming this cozy relationship between Egypt’s junta and its Israeli pals. In 2012, I too reported on specific attacks which at the time were not attributed to Israel, while my Israeli source confirmed Israel’s responsibility for them. So what is the censor hiding?
Israel wants it both ways: Bibi wants to boast about his budding bromance with the Sunni strongmen and Israel’s ongoing military exploits; while the censor wants to protect al-Sisi’s ass by eliminating anything embarrassing to him that might make its way to the Egyptian public. If this isn’t the height of hypocrisy…
The irony of all this is that when it’s in Israel’s interest to ally itself with Sunni militants holding an ideology similar to the one purportedly embraced by the Sinai militants, it will do so. In Syria, Israel has forged a close alliance with al-Nusra, the al Qaeda affiliate there. It offers logistical and intelligence support, including camps on the armistice line with Syria which offer haven to families of al-Nusra fighters. So the next time you hear Bibi denounce the evils of ISIS, global jihad or the caliphate, remember he’s not above throwing in his chips with these same types when it’s to Israel’s advantage.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.