JERUSALEM, Aug. 28 (UPI) — Israel should not rush to amend its peace treaty and allow more Egyptian troops into Sinai, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
The Israeli prime minister was referring to Egypt’s request to increase its military presence in the Sinai Peninsula due to the worsening security situation there. The moves requires amending the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries.
“If we are going to alter the peace treaty with Egypt … and I don’t think it is something we need to rush into … it must be approved by the cabinet,” Haaretz quoted Netanyahu saying.
“We must take care of security, terror problems in particular, and we need to invest more resources in tackling obstacles. We are in continued contacts with the Egyptian government and we are trying to navigate these contacts intelligently,” he said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was not planning to approve Egypt’s request to deploy additional troops in Sinai despite media reports claiming otherwise, Haaretz said.
Egyptian officials want to boost their military presence in Sinai to improve security and prevent further infiltrations into Israel. The request came a week after terrorists infiltrated Israel from the Sinai and killed eight Israelis.
Egypt and Israel signed the peace treaty in Washington in March 1979.Two years later, the countries signed the Protocol of Treaty of Peace referring to the Sinai Peninsula and by the end of 1982, Israel completed its withdrawal from the Sinai.
The treaty limits the number of Egyptian military forces permitted into the Sinai Peninsula and requires Israeli approval for changes.
Last month, Israel agreed to allow a small number of Egyptian military forces in the area to hunt terrorist elements, including al-Qaida groups, operating in the Sinai.