Israeli paper: Netanyahu wants tanks out of Sinai
Ahram Online, Tuesday 21 Aug 2012
A report by Israeli newspaper Maariv says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned about the buildup of Egyptian troops in the region

Israeli newspaper Maariv claimed on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indirectly sent Cairo a message requesting that all Egyptian tanks in Sinai be removed immediately.

In subsequent reports in the Israeli press, spokesman Mark Regev said that the Office of the Prime Minister would not comment on the article.

This comes in light of recent developments in Sinai, where attacks by unknown assailants on Egyptian border guards on 5 August left at least 16 dead and seven injured. The attack allegedly came after a statement was issued by Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau on 2 August, warning Israeli citizens of an imminent attack.

The statement, published by the bureau Prime Minister's Office, asked "the families of Israelis in Sinai to make contact with them and inform them of this warning. In addition, the bureau strongly recommends that all those planning to go to Sinai refrain from doing so."

The Israeli daily added that Netanyahu stressed the importance of coordinating with the Israeli government before introducing any Egyptian infantry or special forces to Sinai, especially as such an introduction without prior coordination represents a clear violation of the Camp David accords.

The article said that US involvement with the two countries was necessary, particularly as the US government has a significant influence on Egypt due to the annual economic aid of 1.3 billion dollars it supplies to the country.

In an alternative article, the newspaper offered excerpts from the article published on Monday by American diplomat Dennis Ross in the Washington Post, who called for the United Stated to condition economic aid on Egypt maintaining the peace treaty with Israel.

Maariv voiced Israel's concern about Egypt not maintaining security in Sinai, and taking "advantage of the exceptional agreement to leave armoured forces in Sinai."