Avoid Vietnam syndrome

Op-ed: IDF can share its knowledge with Egyptian army, but must not do its job in eradicating terror

The secret cooperation between Egyptian army officials and their Israeli counterparts is seemingly an encouraging matter: It outlines a road map which finally brings together the security-related interests of two countries located on the two sides of the border, and proves that cold peace is a relative issue.


Yaalon's vagueness over the assassination of al-Qaeda activists a moment before they launched a rocket at Israel, as well as the Egyptian army's official explanation that it was responsible for the successful operation, fail to provide a satisfactory solution for the chaos reigning in Sinai.


Those settling for the outcome criteria will likely say that where there is no landlord, it is our duty to ensure the peace and security of Israel's residents. They will argue – quite rightfully – that the alternative for the IDF operation on Egyptian soil is abandoning the southern border with its residents and tourists.


But this is a fine solution only for judgment day, in the sense of "kill or be killed," and is useless in the long run. A reality in which our fighters walk on Egyptian soil and try to eradicate the terrorists off its land could drag Israel into a Vietnam-style entanglement.


A state is a body which should be navigated with democratic means, rather than being tempted by solutions which satisfy immediate needs like local calm with no promise for the two people's future. We may breathe with relief at the sight of a terror attack foiled by our finest men on foreign land, and we should take pride in a one-time military achievement which saved human life, but we must not get swept away by bad habits which will bring along big trouble.


History proves that a country which tried to eradicate terrorism on a different country's soil only got in trouble with shrewd and fearless guerilla fighters. The IDF can share its experience, tools and advanced weapons with the Egyptian army, but it cannot – under any circumstances – do its job.



פרסום ראשון: 08.12.13, 20:23
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