Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday Israel would not agree to re-evaluate peace deal with Egypt, days after the latest attack along the shared border killed an Israeli soldier and three gunmen.
To restore security to the increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula, Israel and Egypt agreed to temporarily waive limits on troops included in the 1979 peace deal, allowing Egypt to send heavier weaponry into the vast desert region which borders Israel.
However, there were calls in Egypt for more permanent adjustments to the peace accords, a cornerstone of regional stability. “There is no chance that Israel will agree to any kind of change” to the peace deal, Mr. Lieberman told Israel Radio. The temporary changes to the troop count in the Sinai have made Israel jittery. Israel welcomed a crackdown by Egypt, which deployed armoured personnel carriers and attack helicopters to root out militants in the Sinai Peninsula this summer, but it balked once Egypt sent in tanks, some of which were removed after Israel complained.
While the tanks were not aimed at Israel and it does not consider them a strategic threat, Israeli officials said they were concerned about the precedent and that the move should have been coordinated. Egypt claims that it has coordinated the security sweep with Israel.
The operation scored some successes, but violence in the region persists. On Friday, a shootout along the border between Israeli troops and gunmen left one soldier and three assailants dead. A shadowy, Egypt-based, al-Qaeda-inspired group called Ansar Jerusalem has claimed responsibility for the attack. Since Mr. Mubarak’s 2011 ouster, tensions between Israel and Egypt have grown, particularly since this summer’s election of Mohammed Morsy as President. Mr. Morsy, an Islamist who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, has been cooler to Israel than his predecessor and concerns have risen there over the fate of the peace deal.