(Haaretz)According to the 1979 peace agreement negotiated at Camp David, Egypt is not allowed to introduce tanks into certain areas of Sinai, including the vicinity of Al-Arish, to which dozens of tanks have been transported over the past several days. The treaty also bars the use of fighter aircraft, including helicopters, but that was approved retroactively by the Israeli security cabinet.
More than a year ago, Israel agreed to allow Egypt to maintain seven military battalions and six companies in Sinai, including tank units, in addition to the forces permitted by the peace treaty itself. Before the August 5 terrorist attack, Egypt had not stationed the full complement of troops in Sinai that it was permitted. Since the attack, the Egyptians have done so, but have also exceeded the terms to which Israel has agreed.
At the moment, Israel has decided not to respond to the unilateral Egyptian moves, apparently to avoid a confrontation. Nonetheless, it is seen as a source of future problems, particularly with the entrenchment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s power in Egypt. The Egyptians could ask to have their current troop presence remain in Sinai until the end of their military operations there, although it is not clear when that would be.