An American news channel reported Sunday that American soldiers are currently in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt monitoring the the border with Gaza to stop smuggling during the Israeli attacks.
Officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are deployed on the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Gaza border to make sure Egypt is adhering to its commitment to monitor tunnels and stop smuggling to or from the Strip, veteran NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said Sunday on Meet the Press.
"What the U.S. is hoping is that they can restore the 2005 agreements where Hamas will agree not to rocket Israel, Israel will agree to open the borders," Mitchell said on NBC's news program Meet the Press. "And there are U.S. Army Corps of Engineer personnel on the ground right now on the Egypt side looking at the tunnels to see how Egypt could be reassured that there won't be continued smuggling."
This episode of Meet the Press, hosted by prominent T.V. journalist David Gregory, was attended by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed, The New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger, BBC correspondent Katty Kay.
Egypt was strongly criticized for not maintaining strict surveillance on its borders with Gaza. The Presence of American troops in Sinai sheds light on the undeclared pressure Egypt is subjected to at the hands of the United States.
An American magazine affiliated to Israel Lobby coalitions reported earlier that a team from the Corps would head to Sinai to supervise the construction of a wall along the border with Gaza, similar to the separation barrier Israel built in the West Bank.
Egypt will expedite the construction of the wall under pressure from the U.S. and for fear of any possible contact between Hamas in Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, said David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
In an April article in the Weekly Standard entitled "Egypt builds a wall and changes its tune on Israel's barrier," Schenker argued that the wall is the best option in order for Egypt to stay safe.
"At the end of the day, the Gaza border is above all else a matter of Egyptian national security. So despite the obvious comparisons that will be drawn between the Israeli and Egyptian barriers, Cairo had few alternatives other than to move ahead with a wall of its own. As Israel learned some time ago, good fences make good neighbors, especially when your neighbors are your enemies."
Schenker was advisor to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Syria and Lebanon till 2005 and has very strong connections in the Pentagon till now.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)