As reported in the Star Tribune today, Israel issued a travel warning yesterday, advising all of its citizens to leave Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula immediately, due to “concrete evidence of an expected terrorist attempt to kidnap Israelis in Sinai.”
The Sinai Peninsula, and especially its beaches and resorts lining the Red Sea, is a very popular beach travel destination for vacationing Israelis – somewhat similar to Cancun, Mexico for young Americans – so the Sinai is always crawling with Israelis, especially during the Passover travel season.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first such “get out of Sinai now” travel advisory, and several such advisories in the past have coincided with attempted or carried out terrorist attacks on Israelis in Sinai carried out shortly thereafter.
The most notable part of this story for me was actually a note buried toward the very end of the piece. Mark Lavie writes that
Egyptian police have been searching the Sinai throughout the day for any missing Israelis…
I think it is worth noting the very positive development that the Egyptian government is choosing to listen to the warnings issues by the Israelis, and is making efforts toward making sure no Israelis have been harmed as of yet.
Admittedly, Israel’s peace with Egypt has not made for a very warm-and-fuzzy love-fest for these past 30 years, but I think it is a very positive sign that this level of basic cooperation and basic assurance of security for one another is being observed between these 2 not-so-friendly-but-basically-getting-along neighbors in such a tough neighborhood.
I have not mentioned this before, but at the AIPAC Policy Conference, I had the pleasure to meet a correspondent for Egypt’s “Nile TV” network – a very nice man named Ibrahim – and he and I got to talking for a while. One of the most interesting things he mentioned to me was that in his opinion “Egypt does not have a problem with Israel” anymore. He said they “got their land back” and everything else was not their problem.
Given all the very strong moves that Egypt has been making toward blocking Hamas weapon-smuggling into Gaza, and its role in orchestrating cease-fire agreements between Israel and Hamas – I say let’s hear it for the “not having a problem” school of neighborly relations.