Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / 'Egypt still views Israel as the enemy'
Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad made the statement to an American diplomat in 2005, despite the long-standing peace agreement between Egypt and Israel.
In September 2005, the head of the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau, Maj. Gen. (res. ) Amos Gilad, told an American diplomat that the Egyptian army still sees Israel as an enemy, despite the long-standing peace agreement between the two countries. The conversation was described in a classified telegram sent from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Washington shortly afterward, published in Haaretz over the weekend as part of the latest round of cables released by WikiLeaks.
According to the telegram, Gilad told senior State Department official Elizabeth Dibble that "in their [Egypt's] war games, Israel is always identified as the enemy... They are training all the time, preparing operational plans, infrastructure and their Second and Third Army Corps in the Sinai to take over the Sinai whenever they decide to do so."
He also told Dibble that Israel did not believe the Egyptians were planning to attack, but stressed that Egypt's military capabilities were of concern.
"Gilad stressed that Israel does not see Egypt's army as a 'lousy' one, observing that even a lousy army can be a dangerous one," the telegram said, noting Gilad also pointed out that the Egyptians have F-16s and American weapons.
According to the cable, Gilad told Dibble that he had discussed the issue with Egypt's intelligence chief at the time, Omar Suleiman, but to no avail.
The document goes on to explain that, in Gilad's estimation, these were the reasons Israel was interested in entering a strategic dialogue with Egypt. Gilad apparently told the Americans that the Egyptians were also interested in dialogue, but did not want to send a senior delegation to Israel. He recalled inviting Egypt's then defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (who now heads Egypt's transitional government ) and the commander of the Egyptian air force, but they repeatedly declined to visit Israel.