A great sage once said that diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell and having them enjoy the way down. There is no “enjoying the way down” on the part of the Egyptians as Israel continues with its on again/off again campaign to make the Gaza strip weapons free.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit of Egypt told a local television station on Monday that his country may “retaliate” diplomatically against what he perceived as Israeli lobbying in Washington against Cairo’s interests. Such retaliation may include working against Israel’s interests in African countries and elsewhere.

A Jerusalem aide to Prime Minister Olmert said yesterday that Israel does not lobby against Egypt on Capitol Hill. “Our friends in Washington are quite aware of our concerns,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he said Egypt had failed to take action to stop weapons and cash from being smuggled to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. “But we have no interest in worsening relations,” he added.

Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, Daniel Ayalon, said Egypt’s allegations that Israel has been lobbying against it are untrue, and that Cairo may be conducting its current public campaign in an attempt to push Israel to start lobbying for the North African nation. “Israel does not lobby either for or against Egypt,” he told The New York Sun yesterday. “It would be stupid for us to do so.”

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It was just a week ago that Israel was sending video of Egyptian border guards AIDING Hamas smuggling of weapons into Gaza..the video never arrived–it was held-up by Tzipi Livni. Congress took action anyway.

Recently, Congress placed restrictions on $100 million of Egypt’s $2 billion in annual American assistance, conditioning the release of the funds on stronger Egyptian action against Gaza smuggling. Mr. Ayalon identified such legislators as Rep. Tom Lantos, a Democrat of California, as having had long concerns over the issue, but in Egypt, as elsewhere in the Arab world, Israel’s legendary power to affect Congress is seen as responsible for the legislation.

Egypt places all the blame on Israel.

If Israelis “continue to push and affect U.S.-Egyptian relations and harm Egyptian interests, for sure Egypt will retaliate and will harm their interests,” Mr. Abul Gheit said on state-run Egyptian television Monday. “We have claws capable of retaliating in all directions, and through diplomacy,” he added. “Anyone familiar with the Egyptian mentality knows that Egypt will not be starved. Egypt has existed for 7,000 years, and it will exist for 7,000 years more.” A Cairo Foreign Ministry official told the Ynet news Web site that Egypt can harm Israel’s interests in South Africa and Nigeria, as well as other African and Asian countries, where it has influence. Egypt is capable of turning Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni “into a persona non grata in many countries, and otherwise harm Israel’s diplomatic relations with those countries,” the unidentified official was quoted as saying.
Source Egypt Threatens To ‘Retaliate’ Against Israel

She should be persona non grata in Israel !

None of this addresses the key issue—the Egyptian/Gaza border has been porous. The Palestinians have brought into Gaza more than 30,000 rifles, more than six million rounds of ammunition, more than 230 tons of explosives, and scores of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles during the past two years. (seeGAZA Weapons Smuggling: Can It Be Stopped ?) If Egypt truly wants peace, they need to get off their camels and stop their smuggling