Israel: November 16, 1999


The Arabs cannot make peace without Syria or war without Egypt.--Middle East Proverb The peace between Israel and Egypt remains as restive as the conflict between Israel and Syria. The Israelis complain that Egypt, having made peace 20 years ago, has not followed through with economic and political cooperation. The Egyptians respond that they will not do so until Israel reaches a peace deal with Syria, and that the Israelis knew that from the start. Egypt remains the center of Middle Eastern power in many ways, as the most militarily powerful Arab state. While the danger of a fundamentalist overthrow is slight (due to draconian repression of the fundamentalists), the real problem is Egypt's growing disaffection with the US. Egypt is annoyed that the huge private US investments in Egypt that were expected after Camp David have never materialized, and refuses to link this to its own lack of economic cooperation with Israel. Egypt resents US pressure for full military cooperation along the lines of the US-Turkey-Israeli power bloc, and absolutely refuses to join. Egypt feels that the US should consult it before making any moves in Africa, and should certainly cooperate on policy toward Sudan. All of this is linked to Egypt's underlying goal to become the undisputed leader of the Arab world, a goal it expected Camp David to support and push forward. Despite gaining $40 billion dollars in US aid over the last two decades and the Sinai, Egypt did not get enough of what it expected. Egypt is, ultimately, its own country and not the lockstep ally of America that Washington wants. When the Saudis opened a diplomatic effort to improve relations with Iran, Egypt was quick to follow with its own moves despite US pressure to stay clear of the Ayatollahs. Egypt is being drawn into a power bloc including its old ally Syria and the difficult Iranians. Syria wants to add Iraq to the pact, but any dealings with Saddam are frustrated by that leader's dreamlike view of reality. One concern is that the developing Israel-Turkey bloc may add India, a major country with no love lost for the Arabs. Ultimately, the Egypt-Syria-Iran bloc would seek to dominate the Saudis and the other rich but weak Gulf Arab countries. The Saudis cannot admit in public that their security depends on the US and Turkey, let alone on Israel. --Stephen V Cole

November 16; Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah called on 29 Oct for the complete destruction of Israel, saying that the Arabs would not accept some peace deal that gave them 30% or 50% or even 90% of Palestine; the entire area must revert to Arab control and the state of Israel must cease to exist. Nasrallah called for a new wave of suicide attacks inside Israel. At the same function, Iranian ambassador to Syria Hoseyn Sheykholeslam said that "Palestine -- the whole of Palestine -- must be liberated." --Stephen V Cole

November 15; The second of three German built submarines, The Leviatan, was delivered to an Israeli crew in Germany.  These are electric diesel boats, 57 meters (190 feet) long, 13 meters (43 feet) high, with a maximum diameter of seven meters (23 feet) and have a crew of  45. . They displace of 1,600 tons and are  armed with ten  21-inch torpedo tubes (which can also release mines and sea-to-sea missiles.) This class can remain submerged for several days at a time and can cruise for 9,000 kilometers. Their max dove depth is over  200 meters (660 feet). 

November 14; Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to transfer more Israeli territory to Palestinian control. When the transfer takes place in January, the Palestinians will control 40 percent of the West Bank.

November 13; Five Palestinians were wounded when they clashed with Israeli extremists trying to rebuild an illegal settlement in Palestinian territory.


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