Israel’s Plan to Hegemonize Egypt: Objectives and Strategies
By Omar Saeed; OSaeedFJ@gmail.com
The existence of several Palestinian political factions in close proximity to the Israeli territories or even within its borders is the major threat to the county’s sovereignty and its existence as a state. Furthermore, sharing borders with Egypt as a major Arab power is another challenge to be dealt with by the Jewish state.
Therefore, Israel needs two things to be done in order to achieve its longstanding ambition of exerting its dominance over the entire Middle East region:
1- Defending its territorial sovereignty and wresting full control over the Palestinian territories, the achievement of which depends on expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank of the Jordan River and Gaza Strip.
2- Undermining the regional states’ power by creating chaos inside these countries and encouraging rebellions against the governments.
To this end, Israel has put the plan of disintegrating and undermining Egypt’s integrity on its agenda. The country is teaming up with its new regional ally Saudi Arabia to materialize the project.
In the same vein, Saudi Arabia has been cozying up with Egypt under the mask of providing financial assistance to the Egyptian government in a bid to attain the following goals:
1- Taking possession of the two strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir that could be instrumental in facilitating Israel’s influence in the Gulf of Aqaba (Gulf of Eilat), hence opening the door for the Israel’s long-term political ambition (exerting influence in Egypt) and economic ambition (becoming a connection point between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean to gain a strategic position).
2- Establishing a Wahhabi Dar al-Ifta (center for Islamic sciences and issuing fatwas) to rival the Egyptian counterpart and building the planned King Salman University in Al-Tour City of Sinai Peninsula to rival Al-Azhar University, both aiming at attracting the Egyptian youth to be indoctrinated into radical Wahhabism—an affecting way to spread the ideology— as well as supporting Salafi-Takfiri groups.
3- Pressing the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to renew claim over Egypt-held Hala’ib Triangle in a bid to fuel the flame of political confrontation between the two countries that would open another door for Israel to exploit the unstable situation for the sake of its own interests—as it keeps Egyptian government busy quarreling with Sudan over disputed lands, hence unwary of Israel’s activities inside their country.
Israel, for its part, is weighing the option of relocating the West Bank Palestinians to the Sinai Peninsula in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone: strengthen its grip on the entire Palestinian territories, and undermine the integrity of the North African Arab country by separating Sinai Peninsula from the mainland Egypt. Israel is pursuing these objectives by the following means:
1- Creating a state of chaos in Sinai Peninsula by supporting extremist forces so that the inhabitants would prefer to flee their homes and evacuate the region, opening room for creation of a Palestinian state there.
2- Encouraging Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to adopt tougher security measures in the peninsula, such as restricting freedom of movement to and from the governorate, issuing security cards for the residents, and tightening security checks at Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel entry to prevent the passage of other Egyptian citizens into the peninsula.
3- Increasing the number of Israeli stationary and mobile patrols across the central parts of the Sinai Peninsula.
To sum up, Israel views Egypt as a threat to its future existence given several factors such as its geographical proximity to the country through the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s control over the strategic Gulf of Aqaba route, and anti-Israeli sentiments among Egyptians—a poll conducted by Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research in 2015 showed that Egyptian people view Israel as the ‘most hostile state’. Therefore, the Jewish state has put some options on the table to undermine Egypt’s power: seizing possession of the Sinai Peninsula to force the West Bank Palestinians there and distance itself from the Egyptian mainland, mending relations with Saudi Arabia as a new regional ally to facilitate its influence in the Gulf of Aqaba through the two island of Tiran and Sanafir, possession of which have recently been ceded to Saudi Arabia by Egyptian leaders, and fueling the regional disputes to create a state of anarchy within the region to make it easy to find footholds there in absence of proper wariness to its expansion of influence, to name but a few.