debkafile Reports: Egypt wants to spread its security coordination venture to Ramallah and East Jerusalem, building on its “brilliant Gaza performa

debkafile‘s military sources report that the Egyptians propose to build on their Gaza “feat” to set up in Ramallah a coordination center on the Gaza model. They see themselves taking charge of Palestinian security forces and the policing of the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem and its environs.
In the Gaza Strip meanwhile, Egyptian border police and a delegation of intelligence generals in the Gaza Strip continue to stand by as people, terrorists and weapons stream across the Sinai-Gaza border and the territory evacuated by Israel deteriorates into a Hamas stamping ground.
Egyptian intelligence minister General Omar Suleiman came up with the Ramallah scheme. It was then passed on by the Egyptian generals in Gaza to Israeli officers, including the defense minister’s political coordinator Maj-Gen Amos Gilead.
Conscious of how sensitive the suggestion of Egyptian officers operating in Jerusalem can be, Cairo did not put forward a formal proposal, just a general thought for discussion. This too was how the military protocols governing the failed Egyptian border police security operation on the Philadelphi border strip started out.
Before he went off to New York last week, prime minister Ariel Sharon dismissed the concept. He was still under the shocked impression of the Egyptian fiasco in Gaza. But he suggested testing the ground in Amman for a reaction to the general notion of an Egyptian military presence on the West Bank. He also took it up tentatively with King Abdullah in New York.
Surprisingly, the Jordanians were not as totally against the plan as expected. They were prepared to give it some thought under certain conditions.
debkafile‘s sources report the impression gained from Jordanian officials is that they are no longer sure how much Sharon is prepared to give away to the Palestinians. They fear he may even present the Hashemite kingdom with accomplished facts on the common Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian border that may come out of future negotiations with the Palestinians. That being the case, Amman may conceivably prefer the Egyptian military on the West Bank to an uncertain, transient Israeli presence.
The implications for Israel’s national interests are problematic. An Egyptian military foothold in Ramallah as backup for Palestinian control, would count as semi-recognition of the unacknowledged Palestinian security and intelligence operations in East Jerusalem. It would open the door to an Egyptian security and policy role in Israel’s capital.
Up until now, the Sharon government has not contested the revival of Palestinian national activity in Jerusalem through the reopened Orient House. The symbolic institution was closed down some years ago to prevent the Palestinian Authority pre-empting peace talks and stealing a march on Israel in its capital. Now it is again open for business.
Earlier, Cairo brushed off Israel’s complaint about the wild Palestinian border rampage in violation of all negotiated accords.
debkafile reported on the breakdown of Israel-Palestinian-Egyptian coordination before the first day of the Israeli pull-out was over.

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