(Haaretz) An Egyptian document distributed in Congress asserts that Israeli soldiers cooperate with smugglers in allowing arms and military equipment into the Gaza Strip. The document was relayed to senior Israeli officials where it has served to intensify concerns in Jerusalem about Egypt's willingness to stem the flow of weapons from its territory into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Srip.
The Egyptian document was circulated among congressmen by a group of Egyptian generals visiting Washington for meetings. The document was also given to legislators serving in the House Appropriations Committee. Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), who chairs the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee was the driving force behind a freezing of $200 million worth of American aid to Egypt for reasons that included Cairo's refusal to act more forcefully to prevent smuggling. The official reason given for freezing the funds is Egypt's human rights record.
During briefings made to congressmen by the Egyptian delegation, it was argued that most of the smugglings into the Gaza Strip are carried out from the sea, not through Egyptian territory. They also maintained that Israeli soldiers collaborate with smugglers and allow them to cross into the strip. The Egyptians are also charging that Israel is exaggerating in its assessment of the amount of smuggling activity.