This month marks 30 years since the U.S. helped to broker a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, which formally ended the state of war that had existed between Israel and the largest of the seven Arab nations that launched a war to exterminate the nascent Jewish state in 1948.

An integral part of that Israei-Egyptian peace treaty involved the deployment of 5,000 American troops in the Sinai, to act as an active buffer between these nations.

That American buffer operation became ever more critical over the past few months, following Israel’s incursion into Gaza, which was preceded by massive weapons traffic across the Sinai-Gaza border

The U.S. military has now been sending officers and technical teams to inspect the 10-mile Sinai-Gaza border, working both in Egypt as well as in the Gaza Strip.

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“They are being allowed by Egypt and Hamas to inspect both sides of the border,” an Egyptian source told the Middle East Newsline.

Last week, a four-member U.S. team crossed the Rafah border terminal from Sinai into the Gaza Strip. The team consisted of security officers as well as technicians from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Hamas has been told that there must be improved security to prevent weapons smuggling if the border with Egypt is open,” a source said. “The Americans have been bringing equipment and advisers to improve the border situation.”

In 2008, the U.S. military launched a program to block weapons smuggling from Sinai to the Gaza Strip. The program focused on training and equipment to detect the flow of goods through the estimated 800 tunnels that span Rafah, divided between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. efforts were suspended during the 22-day Hamas-Israel war, which ended on Jan. 18.

U.S. military advisers had been ordered back to Cairo amid heavy Israeli air strikes along the Rafah border.

Since then, Egypt has sent at least one military team to the United States for training on tunnel detection and demolition. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was said to have introduced sonar equipment to detect underground activity.

Egypt has also allowed relief aid convoys to enter Gaza, which have included donations of medicine and food from Libya and several European states.

The U.S. military on the Gaza border has thus far avoided any direct combat situations, and have yet to become a target of terror attacks, which is one reason why there has been little press attention to the American role on the Gaza border.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.