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Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Israel Calls Up Reserves to Deal with Threats on Borders

IDF Soldier on Golan Border with Syria

Algemeiner reported that the IDF requested that the Knesset authorize the call up of 22 Reserve Battalions to deal with threats along the Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese borders. 

There have been more than 50 incidents in the Egyptian Sinai border region provoked by Palestinian and al Qaeda terrorist groups including more than 14 gas pipeline bombings and a cross border attack in August 2011 near Eilat that left eight Israelis dead and more than 33 wounded.  Further, there is increasing tensions between Israel and Egypt given statements by Amr Moussa, a former Foreign Minister and leading candidate in the upcoming Egyptian Presidential elections, disavowing the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of the 1979 Camp David Accords. 

On the Syrian border, there is continued unrest given what appears to be a failed Cease Fire Agreement negotiated by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan between the minority Alawite Baathist regime of embattled President Bashir Assad and armed opposition elements in an attempt to stop the bloodbath that has resulted in upwards of 11,000 deaths.  That may force Israel to strengthen the cease fire line with Syria on the Golan Heights. 

Given intrusions on both the Syrian and Lebanese borders in June 2011 in which more than 20 were killed and hundreds injured, Israel is replacing its electrified fence along the Lebanese border with a concrete barrier.  Israel is currently in the processing of building a security barrier along its southern border with Egypt in the Sinai, which has been breached, recently.

There is a small Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), including a US contingent, positioned in the Sinai established under the 1979 Camp David Accords to monitor the demilitarized area.  Given the rise of terrorist group activities in the Sinai Peninsula and Egyptian statements by political candidates and Muslim Brotherhood leaders for an end to the 1979 Peace Treaty between the two countries there could be a demand for ending the MFO and the remilitarization by the Egyptian Army. 

The Algemeiner report notes the background for the IDF reserve call up:

Instability in Egypt and Syria has led the Israel Defense Forces to call up 6 additional battalions for emergency duty, with 16 others available if needed.

Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, received a request from the IDF to call up the reservists and granted that request based on a 2008 law known as the Reserve Duty Law.

“IDF reserve forces are a key component in the IDF’s operation strength, during both routine and emergency situations. Following security assessments, a number of battalions were called up for military service for the second time in a three year period,” the IDF said in a statement to The Algemiener.

Maariv and Russia Today first reported on this story.

“Following the August attack along the Sinai border, the area around Route 12 was divided into two distinct military zones, creating the need for additional manpower,” the IDF said.

Israel has walked a delicate line with Egypt as the Arab nation moves towards a Presidential election that has seen more than 10 candidates disqualified. In early April Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Sinai – the area controlled by Egypt that shares a border with Israel – is becoming a serious security concern.

As the international community attempts to negotiate an end to the violence in Syria that has led to thousands of deaths, and calls intensify for President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power, Israel has remained relatively quiet about its neighbor to the north. Recently however, Israeli leaders have been more outspoken about their concerns over Syria and their desire to see Assad go.

“We know our place. It’s not for us to give advice,” a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry said regarding Syria. “We’re not doing anything to make him go. We’re not getting involved or even thinking of any interference.”

Watch this Russia Today News video on this latest Israeli security announcement.

Posted on 05/02/2012 9:43 PM by Jerry Gordon
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