Egypt crisis: Israel rallies to support of Egyptian regime
Israel has rallied to the support of President Hosni Mubarak by allowing Egyptian troops into the Sinai peninsula for the first time since a peace deal was signed in 1979.
Despite Israel's support, protests have broken out against Mubarak across the world, including in Sarajevo (above)
4:38PM GMT 31 Jan 2011
The concession came as it emerged that Israel
had privately urged Western governments to end their criticism of Mr Mubarak as he struggles to quell a popular uprising against him.
The United States and its allies were initially supportive of the Egyptian
leader, but have signalled a shift in allegiance to his critics as the protests have gathered pace.
Israel, however, has shown fewer qualms about backing Egypt's president of 30 years, fearing his overthrow could presage the rise of an Islamist regime and the end of one of the Jewish state's most important strategic alliances.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has instructed ministers to make no public comment on events in Egypt. But his ambassadors abroad were instructed to plead with the governments of major powers to be more supportive of Mr Mubarak. Mr Netanyahu on Monday said he was following events in Egypt with “vigilance and worry” and that he feared the country could be led by a radical Islamic regime like that in Iran.
The decision to allow two Egyptian battalions to deploy against protesters in Sinai, which has been demilitarised since Israel’s withdrawal from the territory after the Camp David accords of 1978, is a reflection of Mr Netanyahu’s mounting concern.
Following a sharp deterioration in relations with its ally Turkey and the emergence of a Hizbollah-backed prime minister in Lebanon, Israel has begun to feel increasingly isolated in the Middle East.
Mr Mubarak shares a mutual antipathy towards Iran and Hamas, which runs Gaza, and has been seen as a vital defender of Israel’s security interests.