|Mousa Abu Marzuk|
Thursday, Oct. 13 Cairo took two steps inimical to Israel. Egyptian Air Force Chief Gen. Reda Hafiz said to the official MENA news agency: "Sinai is our land and we do not need permission to increase our forces on our land" in direct contravention of the 1979 peace treaty signed with Israel which demilitarized Sinai by common consent. He added:
"Egyptian planes conduct patrols without Israeli consent to secure Egypt's borders, including the eastern (Israeli) border."
Furthermore, without waiting for Hamas to open the prison doors for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after five years of captivity in the Gaza Strip, Cairo let his captors cash in on the prisoner exchange deal by providing the first Damascus-based Hamas leaders with a home in Cairo.
DEBKAfile reveals that Wednesday, Oct. 12, Khaled Meshaal's deputy, Mousa Abu Marzuk, won permission from Egyptian intelligence director Maj. Gen. Murad Mowafi to relocate from Damascus to a permanent home in a luxury villa provided him in Cairo.
Meshaal, who arrived in the Egyptian capital Wednesday, was assured of the same privileges along with the staff of his Damascus politburo, if the new round of Palestinian unity talks launched between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo Thursday progressed satisfactorily.
Egypt claims that Meshaal arrived to oversee arrangements for the handover of Gilat Shalit next week in return for the first batch of 450 jailed Palestinians. The remainder will be released at a later stage.
According to our sources, he came to supervise the transfer of his command center from the Syrian capital to Cairo.
Nonetheless, the Shin Bet director Yoram Cohen denied Wednesday that there were any political strings attached to the prisoner swap transaction that were hidden from the Israeli public. The information about the Hamas move to Cairo contradicts this assertion and also puts a question mark over Cohen's statement that the Shin Bet is capable of containing any security threat posed by turning loose 1,027 convicted Palestinian terrorists under the accord for recovering Gilad Shalit.
DEBKAfile reports deep resentment in senior military circles over Defense Minister Ehud Barak's message to Cairo of "apologies and deep regrets" as well as condolences for the families of the six Egyptian security personnel "who were killed by Israeli fire."
He was referring to an incident at the scene of a terrorist attack, launched from Egyptian Sinai, on buses and cars on the Eilat highway which left eight Israelis dead.
No inquiry has ever established who caused the deaths of the six Egyptian police officers. Israel thoroughly investigated the incident in response to American and Egyptian demands and decided in the interests of good relations with Cairo to cover up testimony by witnesses on the spot that the six Egyptian officers died while shooting at the Israeli vehicles alongside the terrorists and were in fact indistinguishable from them.
Furthermore, the terrorists had made all their preparations for the attack on the Sinai side of the border under the eye of an Egyptian police post.
Neither Netanyahu nor Barak checked with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz before inculpating his troops for the killing of the Egyptian policemen in an official statement to Cairo.
All this backdoor dealing has not been brought to the public notice. Even if it had, it would have been swamped by the soap-opera emotionalism and drama which is how TV News producers and front pages are treating the soldier's imminent return.
Missing therefore is any disclosure of how the US and Egypt used the Shalit case to legitimize Muslim Brotherhood participation in the Egyptian government, the establishment of ties between the Brotherhood and Washington and the Egyptian Brothers' expanding clout in Ramallah and Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority's ties with the rejectionist Hamas-Gaza were one of the stumbling blocks which held Israel back from negotiating a permanent peace with the Palestinians. By signing the prisoner swap deal, Israel confronts the formidable Muslim Brothers, parents of Hamas, and paved their path into the West Bank.
None of Israel's talking heads has been able to explain what made Hamas suddenly flexible enough on its toughest terms to swing the deal. For instance, the top terrorist guns of both Hamas and Fatah were not included in the prisoner swap and will stay in jail.
The answer is revealed here: It was not Hamas' decision to give way; it was forced to do so by its Egyptian Brotherhood masters. US officials in Cairo for talks with the Brotherhood leaders and Gen Mowafi led them in the real negotiations for the Shalit deal.
They first established its fundamental and left the Israeli prime minister's emissary David Meidan and the head of Hamas' military wing Muhammad Jabari to tie up the technical ends.
The Americans pushed Israel hard to accept the deal, while the Brothers gave Hamas no choice.