Israel to withdraw its Border Guard from Sinai border

Under a plan to lower military expenses and make better use of its military resources, the General Staff of the Israeli military has decided to withdraw its border guards from Israel’s borders with Egypt and Jordan in early 2011 and replace them with regular and reserve troops.  A spokesperson for the Israeli army said the General Staff does not consider Israel’s southern front, which encompasses its borders with Egypt and Jordan, a threat and could therefore make better use of its border guards elsewhere.
A military source told the newspaper Yediot Acharonot that the decision was taken during planning sessions led by Benny Gantz, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Israeli military.  Another source that requested to remain anonymous said, “The reserve and regular troops are fully capable of securing Israel’s borders with Egypt and Jordan, and can do so at a significantly lower cost than border guards.”
Strong opposition to the decision was voiced by Shmuel Rifman, head of the Regional Council of the Negev, who warned that the move would lead to problems along Israel’s borders. He stressed that Israel’s Border Guard is among the most capable and well trained of Israel’s forces, and that they excel in carrying out police work, such as combating human trafficking and weapons and drug smuggling.  He cautioned that replacing border troops with regular forces could be disastrous.
Rifman sent a message to Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz, saying, “I am privy to information that makes me an authority in this matter, and future generations will pay a high price for this decision.”
The official spokesperson for the Israeli military told Yediot Acharonot that “the issue is still being examined and that a final decision will be made in the near future.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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