The minister affirmed that security cooperation between Israel and Egypt is "better than ever," and asserted that "flooding is a good solution" for tackling Hamas' intricate tunnel systems.

The defense and security establishment is livid with Minister of Infrastructure, Energy and Water Yuval Steinitz after learning of the comments he made Saturday concerning security cooperation between Israel and Egypt.

Steinitz, speaking at a cultural event held in Beersheva, said that Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the flooding of several Hamas tunnels linking Egypt to the Gaza Strip, to a certain extent, "due to Israel's request."

The minister affirmed that security cooperation between Israel and Egypt is "better than ever," and asserted that "flooding is a good solution" for the challenge of tackling Hamas' intricate tunnel system used for smuggling purposes.

Military and defense cooperation is one of the most sensitive issues concerning both countries, and disclosures on the exact nature of Egyptian-Israeli security activities is highly confidential.

Highlighting that concern is the Israel media censor's sensitivity on the issue, placing heavy restrictions on what Israeli journalists can report on Egyptian-Israeli ties. The censor has even been known to reject Israeli coverage of the subject based on foreign media reports at the behest of Cairo.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his regime are extremely reluctant to disclose publicly its relationship with Israel, concerned that opposition forces within the government will stoke populist anger by painting Sisi as an "Israeli collaborator."

Egyptian security cooperation with Israel is highly unfavorable among the Egyptian populace.

Al-Sisi, however, needs little prodding from Israel to destroy the Hamas tunnels linking Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula, viewing the Gaza based terror organization a viable security threat.

In the eyes of the Egyptian government, Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, poses a threat to national security in much the same was as the latter. The Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed and its leadership thrown in prison since al-Sisi came into power in 2014.

Furthermore, the Egyptian government routinely accuses Hamas of being in communication with terrorist elements in the Sinai,including Islamic State's affiliatein the peninsula.

It was not the first time in which an official made known information the security establishment would prefer to keep quiet. In September of last year at a similar cultural event in Beersheva,Amos Gilad, senior adviser to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, told an audience that Russian jets periodically violate Israeli airspace as it conducts operations in Syria.

Last year, Egyptian forces began to flood tunnels dug beneath the Gaza-Egypt border in an effort to curb the use of the underground passages used to bring in an estimated 30 percent of all goods that reach Gaza.

Overnight Friday, Egypt flooded 10 tunnels, using pipes to pump water from the Mediterranean Sea and bring about their collapse.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Sec...-public-444063